My parents and I migrated to the United States around 1999 from Haiti. My parents often tried to teach important Haitian values and customs, but we also Americanized quickly. I often have to ask myself, did I learn this custom here? Or did it come from Haiti?
On January 1st, Haitian Independence Day, we cook a huge pot of pumpkin soup. In creole, it is called “Soup Joumou.” This soup has everything you can imagine. It contains pumpkin, beef, carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes, scallions, squash, onions, and so much more. And it has to be cooked in a gigantic pot. Why? Besides the abundant amount of ingredients, this is when Haiti got its independence from France and became the first black country to do so. So, it was a big celebration! The gigantic pot was geared towards feeding all of the soldiers who risked their lives in the Haitian Revolution. It was also geared towards bringing everyone together. Everyone would sit around the Pot to eat and converse and then get up to dance and ultimately celebrate this new found meaning of what it means to be Haitian.
I was three when I came here, and till this day, my family and I still do this tradition. After the soup has been cooked, we gather everyone to serve them and after we do, we eat and converse, and get up to dance like our predecessors once did.