Flag and University Day

Flag and University Day is a public holiday observed in Haiti annually on May 18th. This holiday commemorates the creation of the Haitian Flag and its adoption on May 18, 1803. The flag’s design was created by removing the white center from France’s tricolor flag.

The blue is said to represent the African descent of Haitians, and the red is for the other people of color. Although the flag was created in 1803, it has been changed several times over the years. Because this is a public holiday, schools and most businesses are closed, and it is a day off for the general population.

The History of Flag & University Day in Haiti

On the last day of the Congress of Arcahaie, the Haitian Flag was adopted. Jean-Jacques Dessalines created the flag based on the French flag. Over the years, this flag has been changed a few times.

In 1804, the bands were temporarily made vertical, and sometimes red and black variations of the design have been used. The modern version of the Haitian flag was adopted on February 17, 1986, and was officially ratified with the adoption of the Constitution in 1987.

For years, this holiday was known as Flag Day, but in 1919, University Day became part of the holiday celebration. It was added because the U.S. occupation of Haiti at the time was perceived as a serious threat to their educational system.

Observing Flag & University Day in Haiti

This holiday is usually observed with flag-raising ceremonies and solemn speeches by government officials. The hashtag #FlagAndUniversityDay is often used on social media to spread the word about this holiday. Sometimes this day is referred to as Flag Day, and sometimes it is merely referred to as University Day.

Where is it celebrated?
Haiti (National/legal holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 18 Saturday
Next year (2025)
May 18 Sunday
Last year (2023)
May 18 Thursday