New Year’s Day is a widely celebrated holiday around the world, but this day also holds special meaning in Haiti as it commemorates Haiti’s independence day.


Haiti gained independence from France in 1804, becoming the first free black republic in the world. At this time, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a leader of the revolution, returned the country to its original name… Ayiti (Haiti). The name Ayiti means “land of the mountains.”



On this day of celebration each year, Haitians prepare soup joumou, a rich pumpkin/squash soup with an even richer history. Soup joumou was said to be consumed by the French oppressors during Haiti’s time of slavery. This soup was a delicacy and was reserved only for slave masters.


After defeating the French and Spanish forces and declaring their independence, the Haitian people embraced this soup as their own. It now represents a symbol of freedom.



Want to try Soup Joumou for yourself?  Try this recipe!