As we’re celebrating Easter with bunnies, egg hunts and way too much candy, Haiti is celebrating with colorful kites, church services and traditional meals. Though not all areas of Haiti celebrate in the same way, there are several traditions that mark Haitian culture in the days leading up to Easter – a time of celebrating our risen Savior in Haiti and around the world.
Church Services: Christians in Haiti celebrate Easter by focusing on the last days of Christ on earth and attend church services similar to those in the U.S. Some churches may hold a Watch Night service during Lent and many typically have an Easter morning sunrise service.
Traditional Meals: Most Christian families in Haiti do not eat red meat during Lent in honor and respect for Jesus’ blood that was shed for us on the cross. The traditional “Holy Week Salad” is made with boiled eggs, beets, cabbage, carrots and turnips and a typical Good Friday meal in Haiti would consist of fish and rice cooked with white beans and beets.
Doing Good: Pastor Louis – from Armee du Salut in Luly – also said that some church families also use Easter as an opportunity to serve others, visiting prisoners or those in the hospital to pray with them and bring them small gifts, sharing the message of the gospel.
Haitian Kites: Flying kites is another very popular Haitian tradition during Easter. Beautiful colored paper kites are sold in some parts of Haiti. Those children with little money make their own kites with whatever materials they can find, such as plastic bags or tarps with sticks. Degagé – a common saying in Haiti that means to make do with what you have.
Some areas of Haiti even have kite contests with prizes for the nicest kites or those that fly the highest. What excitement there is for little boys and girls as they fly their own creations!
Our prayer for Haiti: Our prayer this Easter is that the local church in Haiti would be strengthened and that their focus would be on the life, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. We hope that as the children fly their kites and watch them in the sky carried by the wind, they are reminded of our wonderful Savior who died but was raised to life.
Our prayer for us: As we celebrate Easter in the U.S. we pray that we would have this same focus. Let’s spend time this Easter season reflecting on how Jesus’ death and resurrection covered the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2 “He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
If you have kids, in addition to your Easter eggs this year, consider making homemade kites to fly in your yard to be reminded of your brothers and sisters in Haiti who are also celebrating Easter. Use Easter as an opportunity to serve others. Sponsor a child, pray for those living in poverty in Haiti or serve locally. Rejoice that we have a Savior worth celebrating!
To help teach your children about Easter traditions in Haiti, enjoy this quick DIY kite idea for kids, or in the spirit of “degagé” use only supplies you already have in your home!
PAPER BAG KITES
- paper lunch bags
- yarn or strong twine/string
- popsicle stick
- embellishments: stickers, paint, markers, crayons, construction paper, washi tape
- Have the kids decorate the paper bags using a variety of embellishments. Stickers and washi tape work really well to add some fun prints and colors! They could also draw designs with markers and crayons or add polka dots and stripes using washable paints. Just make sure the paint is dry before moving on to the next step.
- Using a pair of scissors, snip a little hole on the bottom base of the bag. This will be used for the kite string.
- Cut a piece of yarn or string about 18-24 inches long. Tie one end to the middle of a popsicle stick and feed the other end through the hole in the bag. The popsicle stick will keep the kite string from pulling out when it’s flying.
- Attach streamers to the open end of the bag using tape.
- Go fly your kite!