Like every January 1st since 1804, this Sunday, Haiti will celebrate its independence. Whether they are in Haiti, the United States, Canada or France, Haitian families across the globe will enjoy a giraumon soup to mark the day, called the “Soup Joumou.”
Mixing meats, pasta, carrots, cabbage, leeks, parsley, potatoes, other vegetables, and the giraumon squash from which it takes its name, the Soup Joumou is a Haitian pride. For Haitians, it is much more than a simple dish. It marks a moment of reunion for Haitian families. It is the fraternal communion of the members of a free people. It is the unlikely, unexpected victory of a poor black people over a dominant white power.
Historically, the consumption of Soup Joumou was reserved for white settlers and forbidden to slaves, who were considered movable property – living beings, but deprived of all the natural rights that even the French colonizers said were inalienable and inherent to the human person.
On January 1, 1804, Haiti became the first independent black republic in the world following its victory over Napoleon’s France, arguably the most effective military force in the world. This was the beginning of the cycle of the abolition of black servitude the world over.
When Haitian slaves ate Soup Joumou that day, it constituted a strong symbol of freedom, of rupture within the transatlantic slave trade which lasted more than 400 years. Soup Joumou has a historical dimension, an undeniable significance. It is a special and uniquely Haitian way to celebrate independence, and Heartline marks this holiday by providing Soup Joumou to Haitian prisoners through its community outreach program.
Leave a Reply