Basseterre, St. Kitts , May 24, 2019 – On the evening of Saturday May 18th 2019, the Haitian Association of St. Kitts and Nevis (H.A.S) hosted their first ever Haitian Flag Day celebrations, with a Cocktail at the Manhattan Gardens, in Lime Kiln, Basseterre.
The large audience who supported the exciting event certainly received a treat, as they not only got a taste of delicious Haitian cuisine, but they were treated to a cultural explosion which included, Kompa dancing, traditional folklore dancing, singing and a flag parade. Through a creatively orchestrated interactive storytelling segment, patrons were also able to learn a bit of Haiti’s history and phrases of the Haitian language kreyòl. Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis also expressed their delight to learn that Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis has had connections dating back for centuries, thanks to Haitian patriot, king and one time President, Henri Christophe who was a slave who came from St. Kitts and Nevis, who bought his freedom and played a critical role in the fight for the independence of Haiti.
Patrons were also given a very interesting historical overview of the creation of the current Haitian flag, which had many predecessors. Haiti received its first official flag 216 years ago, on May 18, 1803 in the city Arcahie, after revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines tore up a French tricolor and had his goddaughter, Catherine Flon, stitch together the country’s first independent flag.
Haitian Flag Day is, therefore, a public holiday in the Republic of Haiti where large demonstrations of national pride and love for the national flag are held throughout the country and even in the diaspora by the proud Haitian people. Some citizens decorate their homes and businesses with the flag, whilst some will actually purchase aluminum flagpoles so they can fly their flag high above their home. Others will simply dress in the colours of the national flag.
Haiti’s current flag is a bicolor, horizontal flag of blue and red, with a white rectangle in the center featuring a coat of arms. The coat of arms includes a hilltop, weaponry, and a palm tree. A white ribbon on the hillside states, “Unity is Strength”.
According to President of the H.A.S, Ms. Christel Joseph, “The purpose of the event was to create an awareness of the Association’s existence, to bring life to one of the objectives of the Association, which is to foster cultural integration between Haitians and nationals and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis and to raise funds for a scholarship program that will be launched in the month of June 2019, for Primary and Secondary graduates who perform well academically, and excel in the subject areas of French and Spanish.”
The Haitian Association of St. Kitts and Nevis was established in October of 2016 and held their first event in that same year which was a food fair in the Independence Square, which raised funds to assist Haitians who were affected by the catastrophic Hurricane Matthew.
Recently, H.A.S has revamped and implemented new strategies in an effort to raise the profile of the association and to fulfill their other objectives.
The Haitian Association of St. Kitts and Nevis will also be participating in the EAT LOCAL Day Music Festival Food Fair, which will be held on June 28th,2019 in the Independence Square.