South Florida Haitian community celebrates Haitian Heritage month

Haitian Heritage Month
Michael Brun at Haitian Flag Day & Compas Festival in Miami in 2016

Celebrating the culture of Haiti, miles away from their homeland, is the focus of Sounds of Little Haiti – a free outdoor concert, held once a month, on the third Friday, in the heart of Downtown Little Haiti at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex.

The month of May holds special significance as it is recognized as Haitian Heritage month, an expansion of Haitian Flag Day which is a major patriotic day celebration in Haiti and the Diaspora.

Haitian Flag Day

“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate Haitian Flag Day in Little Haiti. The Haitian flag is a symbol of pride and our team worked to put together an event to celebrate the authentic culture and heritage of Haiti,” said Sandy Dorsainvil of Sounds of Little Haiti and Maximillian Consultants, prior to the event on May 18.

On that day in 1803, then Haitian leader Jean Jacques Dessalines created the flag by ripping the white out of the center of the flag of France. The blue and red were then sewn together to create the new flag.

Compas Festival

Beside the Flag Day celebration, May carries several historical and cultural traditions. Another celebration, also held last weekend, was the Haitian Compas Festival.

“What we have is an outpouring of rich cultural experiences, a musical showcase and programs across the country,” said one of the organizers.

“We owe our longevity to the public that never stops supporting the festival,” said Co-Founder of the festival, Rodney Noel.

“Year after year, people prove it to us by traveling from France, Guadeloupe, Canada, Martinique and Haiti. We are blessed to have done that, it still seems like a dream that we are celebrating 20 years….” Noel  said in a quote published by South Florida Caribbean News.

The Haitian Compas Festival has been listed by Billboard magazine as one of the top ten cultural festivals in the nation.

This particular festival brings the Diaspora to South Florida for an event that boasts up to 50,000 patrons.

According to officials – the entire city of Miami benefits from this and the proceeds are also beneficial to aspects of Haiti’s development.

South Florida is home to one of the largest Haitian populations in the United States with over 200,000 Haitians living in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

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