Friday, May 18, is Haitian Flag Day. It is the last day of the year for the celebration of the independence of Haiti. The first celebration of this day in 1793 was commemorating the deposition of the first free slave, Rogerous Mena. As Rogerous Mena left the country to settle in New Orleans, the French took control of the country. The French ruled the country for almost two centuries.
On this day, Haiti officially changed the flag to the current one, the tricolor. The change was made so that the colors of the flag would represent the history of the nation. Haiti’s current flag was designed by Andres Azzacot, the famous cartographer and artist who served as the critical aide-de-camp to General Ignatius Bonaparte during the revolution that overthrows the former French ruler. Azzacot drew the new flag in the shape of a triangle, representing the three constituent islands of Haiti.
The celebration of this day in Haiti celebrates not just the nation’s independence but also the history of Haiti and the contributions of its people to the world. It is also important to note that the country’s French invasion did not end in the Revolution of 1794. Many elements of the former French regime still exist today in the form of a hybrid organization called the MINORCA. This mixed organization aims to enforce the power of Haiti’s revolutionary leader, Aristide Barrios, who is based in Washington D.C. The current constitution of Haiti is known as the Haitian constitution.
Some celebrate the event of Haiti flag day differently. In Port Louis, where the largest number of Haitians live, a day is observed for May. During this time, children play games such as “passing the flag” while standing on the flag, replaced with a plastic bag. This game is meant to demonstrate the idea that no matter where people live in the world, they all have a common ancestry that goes back in history to the French. Another variation of the game is played with paper airplanes, known as “faux poules.” These paper airplanes are made using a mixture of colored papers and glued together to form a plane.
Other events celebrate the celebration of Haiti’s national palace. At the end of January or early February, a grand parade is organized through Port Louis’s streets. This parade is led by General Victor Fournier, who happens to be the mayor of the city. After leading the parade through the streets, speeches are made by the military and government officials outlining the plans that are needed to commemorate the day. The general who heads up the celebration is also made to make a speech.
No matter what the occasion is, Haiti’s national pride is a day that is highly regarded among the people of Haiti. It is also a day that teaches children the value of friendship and the importance of celebrating one’s heritage. Although there may not be much to do at the national palace, there are plenty of things to see and do outside of it. For those interested in learning more about Haiti’s culture, history, and more, there is an entire library that provides access to books on any subject imaginable.