Today is Flag Day in Haiti. Flag Day is a major holiday for Haitians both in Haiti and overseas. On this day (May 18) in 1803, Haitian leaders of the revolution (Petion and Dessalines) in the city of Archahaine removed the center column of the French flag to create the red and blue symbol of Haitian independence.
The design was turned on its side the following year when Haiti won its independence to create the horizontally stripped flag Haiti has today. Between 1964 and 1986 Haiti used a red and black flag. The flag was returned to red and blue following the fall of the Duvalier regime.
Despite being enemies during the 1790s and early 1800’s, the Haitian struggle for independence embraced many of the same ideals of the French Revolution—Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity—making the French flag an appropriate basis for the burgeoning nation’s symbol.
May is also Haitian Heritage Month for Haitians in the United States. It marks several important Haitian holidays and milestones, including the May 20th birthday of Haiti’s national hero, slave-turned-general Toussaint L’Ouverture.
According to haitianheritagemonth.net May is Haitian Heritage Month…
“To remember the unity reached by the Black and Mulatto officers at their historic congress on May 15-18, 1803 to fight together against slavery in the French colony of St. Domingue, and for its independence, which they proclaimed on January 1, 1804.
To celebrate the creation of the blue and red Haitian flag on May 18, 1803.
To honor Haitian General Toussaint Louverture who was born on May 20 1743.
To celebrate Haitian achievements and contributions across the globe.
To raise awareness and understanding about Haitian culture and traditions.
To strengthen the self-esteem of Haitian/Haitian American youth.
To honor Haitian tradition of celebrating:
- The month of May as Mary’s, the mother of Jesus (Haitian Catholics)
- May 1st as Labor and Agriculture Day
- May 17 as Teacher’s Day
- May 18 as University Day
- Last Sunday of May as Mother’s Day”