Travel Guide Caribbean Haiti Jacmel


Events and Festivals

Due to the blending of Catholic and Voodoo traditions Haiti has several vibrant holidays ranging from Independence Day celebrations to one of the most intense carnivals in the Caribbean.

  • Independence Day and New Years are both on January 1st and together are considered a national holiday with joumou, a kind of pumpkin soup, being eaten as a tradition. New Year’s Day is a widely celebrated holiday across countries following the Christian calendar, but this day is also when Haiti commemorates the country’s independence. Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared the nation free from the French colonizers in 1804, making it a joyous occasion.
  • Ancestors Day is on January 2nd and is a major Holiday
  • Heroes Day celebrates many of Haiti's heroes and is on January 3rd.
  • Carnival - Called “Kanaval” in local Creole, this event takes place annually in January or February and traditionally coincides with the start of Lent. All of Haiti comes alive as the cities are filled with colorful parades and pageants, dancing and singing. The festivities turn into night-long parties where the locals come together in celebration. Lent varies according to the Christian calendar, while Carnival takes place in the preceding weeks, concluding on Shrove Tuesday ( “Fat Tuesday”).
  • Death of Toussaint Louverture celebrates the death of Haiti's founding father and is on April 4th.
  • Flag Day is on May 18th and usually features parades. It is also a popular holiday for protesters against the government.
  • Corpus Christi on June 3rd is important to the Catholic population of the country.
  • Pilgrimage of St. D'Eau is an important religious holiday during the festival of Our Lady of Carmel from July 14–16.
  • October Death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines is celebrated on July 17th.
  • Battle of Vertieres is a celebration of one of the most important battles for Haitian independence on November 18th.
  • Decouverte of Haiti is the celebration of Columbus discovering Haiti on December 5th. This is one of the most important holidays in Haiti
  • Christmas, on December 25th, is an extremely important holiday for Haitian Christians and practicers of Voodoo.
  • Rara - Rara is another festival that is linked to the Christian calendar, taking place on Easter week. There are many parades with traditional Haitian-style and Afro-Caribbean music being played. The lively atmosphere is boosted by the many percussive instruments ringing through the streets, with melodies from a bamboo trumpet-style instrument called a vaksen.
  • Krik? Krak! Festival - Usually held in May, this family-oriented festival is filled with traditional storytelling of Haitian folklore. There are many other Voodoo celebrations happening throughout the year in different locations.
  • Dessalines Day - Held on October 17, this holiday celebrates the death of the modern nation’s founder, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Haitians are proud that their country became one of the first independent nations in the Americas and was the first ever republic to be led by people of African descent.



Keep Connected


The internet is slowly growing across the country and cyber cafes can be found around Port-au-Prince and other major cities. That said it is often very slow, although cheap. Remember that power outages are common and in the countryside finding a computer, let alone internet, is quite difficult.


See also: International Telephone Calls

Mobile phones have exploded across the country and are very easy to obtain. The two main companies are Voila and Digicel. They have comparable prices although Digicel has better coverage in the countryside. A SIM card costs about 150 Goude and it includes 50 Goudes in minutes. It is easy to buy more replacement cards across the country as there seems to be a Voila or Digicel vender everywhere.

Another odd phenomena in Haiti is that locals will like to ask for you phone number in your home country. It is best not to give them this phone number and give them an email address or an actual address unless you plan to stay in contact with that person. Haitians will actually call your phone in your home country regularly. Besides from this being annoying it also a waste of their limited money to be calling an international number.


The mail system in Haiti is unpredictable and unreliable. It is best to avoid it, even for post cards. Most Haitians, if wanting to send something internationally, wait till they have a friend that is going to the Dominican Republic or the United States and have them post it there.


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This is version 2. Last edited at 12:45 on Aug 30, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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