Everything that you need to know about Haitian culture
Over the past few years’ Haitian relationship experts have been conducting research into many aspects of Haitian culture. Here we provide a summary of the findings. Approximately 95% of Haitians are of African decent due to the fact that the island was originally used as a port for the North and South American slave industry. African influence can be heavily seen in Haitian family values, superstitions and religion.
Family life is extremely important for Haitian people, regardless of their class. Middle and upper class Haitians are often situated in urban locations and celebrate marriages. Their family values often reflect those of Americans. In contrast, lower socioeconomic class families often have common-law marriages and tend to live in extended family environments. Family is put above all.
Although both Haitian men and women work, the men are usually responsible for earning the money to provide for their families. Haitian women are usually allowed to work but maintaining the cleanliness of the home and looking after the children is equally as important.
In Haiti, children are seen as very precious and are seen as gifts from God. Protecting family and privacy are taught as important values to children when they are growing up. In addition they are taught the importance of always valuing their elders. The majority of parents always leave their children equal inheritances; this is not determined by the gender of the children. In return, children are expected to look after their parents and elders when needed.
Families often live together in the same household, this is especially true in rural areas. The elders of the house are always respected. It is believed that they can offer the family their experience and wisdom, which they in turn can use for themselves. It’s not uncommon for senior family members to help raise the children.
In Haiti, Catholicism is the official state religion of Haiti. The French Capuchins and Jesuits helped Catholicism become the main religion organization during that time period. Now Haiti has around 10 and a half million practicing Catholics. In the early 21st century many different Protestant denominations were introduced to the Haitians. There are now approximately 1 million Haitians that are Protestants. The most dominant and oldest religion practiced in Haiti is Voodoo, unfortunately it is often misunderstood causing many Haitians to hide the religion from outsiders. Voodoo believers believe that all living forces (elements in nature and animals) are connected together. They also believe that everyone and everything has a spirit. Healing rituals are a big part of Voodoo religion and often referred to as white and black magic.
Many Haitians believe in superstitions. Many locals believe in bad and good luck that happens due to other events. A mother’s untimely death is usually the centre of many well-known superstitions. Some superstitions exist such as if you point at a rainbow you will get bad luck.
The year of 2010 was a tragic year as many Haitians lost their jobs, homes and loved ones in a horrific 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left the island in tatters. Many turned to their faith to find a way through the heartbreaking event. Whilst some Haitian people have become more resolute in their beliefs others have adopted stronger religious beliefs.