Independence Day in Haiti

Independence Day is a public holiday that’s observed in Haiti on the 1st of January every year. Even though this day is also celebrated as New Year’s Day by the vast majority of Haitians, people still observe this holiday as a remembrance of Haiti declaring its independence from France in 1804.

Since most of the New Year’s Eve celebrations have left many hungover, many people choose to watch the parades at Port-au-Prince or the fireworks display that ends the day. Other events that occur on this day include dancing, singing patriotic songs, and reciting the national anthem. There are also speeches given by public officials, and people enjoy food native to the island.

The History of Independence Day in Haiti

During the 16th century, the French settled Hispaniola, and the French colony of Saint-Domingue had been established by the middle of the 16th century. The island was used for sugarcane plantations that were worked by enslaved Africans.

In 1791, the Haitian Revolution began, and two years later, the rebellion had abated, and slavery was abolished. The result was the French sending over twenty thousand troops to the island to restore authority. The leader of the resistance, Toussaint Louverture, ended up being captured by the French and was deported to a prison in France, where he died in 1803.

The resistance was taken up by Louverture’s lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. He defeated the French troops at the Battle of Verti√®res on November 18, 1803. France ended up withdrawing its troops, and on January 1, 1804, Dessalines declared the island a free republic. He then renamed it Haiti after its indigenous name.

Observing Independence Day in Haiti

This holiday is celebrated by people all over Haiti. There’s an annual Independence Day parade in Port-au-Prince, speeches given by politicians, and people enjoying a traditional New Year’s soup made from squash. There’s also a fireworks display that many people take the time to watch as well.

Where is it celebrated?
Haiti (National/legal holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 1 Monday
Next year (2025)
January 1 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
January 1 Sunday