In my family every January 1st, it is a Haitian tradition to eat soup joumou to celebrate our Independence Day. In English this translates to pumpkin soup. This soup is made up of yellow squash, beef, pasta, potatoes, cabbage, and many other vegetables. This tradition is so important because it is a symbol of our liberty. During the time of French colonization in Haiti, they would eat this soup during many their celebrations and the natives/slaves were forbidden to have it. So on January 1st 1804 when we got our independence Emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines told his wife to make the dish that we were forbidden to eat. Since then Haitians all over the globe eat this dish to celebrate our freedom and to commemorate being the first black nation to gain our independence. Even as a second generation Haitian I follow this custom. It helps me understanding where my family comes from and who I am. My mother was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. My father was born in La Tibolere Jeremie, Haiti. They immigrated to the US in 1989,. 1989 was also the year that my parents weren’t able to follow the tradition of eating soup joumou. One reason for this is that they didn’t have they money to buy the ingredients. In the mist of this new environment, this dish symbolized home. They left so much in Haiti, this soup is a reminder of their family, friends and experiences back home. When my parents got married and had my sister and I, they made sure that we had Soup Joumou every year.
– Nelley Augustin