Haiti Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.

Date Holiday
January 1 New year, independence day
January 2 Day of the forefathers
14th of February carnival
April Good Friday
April 14 Panamerica day
1st of May Labor Day
May 18 Flag day
May Ascension of Christ
15th June Corpus Christi
15th of August Assumption Day
October 17 Anniversary of Dessaline’s dea
October 24 United Nations Day
November 1 All Saints Day
November 18 Day of the Battle of Vertieres
December 5 Haiti s discovery day
25 December Christmas

Source: Countryaah – Haiti Holidays

If you look at the Haitian festivals in Haiti, you will notice the juxtaposition of Christian holidays (Easter and Carnival) alongside traditional ones (such as the day of the ancestors). The African traditions and belief in nature are thus cultivated and continue to exist alongside the Christian religion and Latin American culture. Such African influences can also be seen in the myths, the dances, the stories and, last but not least, in the clothing of the Haitians – in festivals and everyday life. And even the cuisine of Haiti is influenced by Africa (for example with plantains and sweet potatoes), even if traditional foods (such as beans and rice) are used.

Climate

Travel times

The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. Pure cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. People who like to enjoy a lot of sun and who do not have any problems with higher temperatures can visit the country all year round. People who prefer a more moderate climate and lower temperatures should better avoid a stay in Haiti.

Climate table

The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. It should be noted, however, that the climatic conditions in different regions of the country can differ considerably from one another and thus also from the values shown. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 30 °C to reach maximum values of 40 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.

Month Average number of rainy days Mean maximum temperatures in (°C) Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)
January 03-04 30-31 19-20
February 06-07 30-31 19-20
March 08-09 31-32 21-22
April 10-11 31-32 21-22
May 14-15 31-32 22-23
June 10-11 33-34 24-25
July 07-08 33-34 24-25
August 09-10 33-34 24-25
September 11-12 33-34 24-25
October 11-12 31-32 21-22
November 07-08 29-30 21-22
December 03-04 29-30 21-22

National customs

Voodoo religion

When you think of Haiti, you immediately think of the voodoo cult, which has always remained a bit puzzling and scary to people in the West. What seems so scary to an observer from the West are the ritual animal sacrifices and the consumption of intoxicating substances such as alcohol and tobacco. One still thinks of dolls pierced with needles, cock-swinging dancers and mindless, soulless undead. But if you want to get back to reality, you should approach the voodoo religion, to which 70% of Haitians belong, with a little more benevolence and interest. The voodoo cult has nothing to do with black magic, but rather with a form of dance and song ritual. Although the Roman Catholic faith is followed by a large number of Haitians, the more traditional religion of voodoo has been preserved, which incidentally has its roots in Africa. When the slaves came to Haiti involuntarily, they brought their customs with them.

The focus of the Voodoo religion is Baka: This is a spirit from the realm of the dead, which must be appeased by the application of certain rituals, otherwise it feeds on human flesh.

Incidentally, the voodoo religion was only officially recognized in Haiti a few years ago.

Clothing – photography – tips

In Haiti – with the exception of very fine restaurants – you can dress casually, but beachwear only belongs to the swimming pool or the sea. Photographing Haitians should be avoided without their express permission. The voodoo cult discourages people from being portrayed. Tips are also very popular in Haiti. As a rule of thumb, restaurants and hotels charge 10% of the total price. There is no need to tip taxi drivers.

Haiti: sightseeing

WarningHaiti is a country that has been hit hard by political and economic crises over the past decades. It is therefore not advisable, and of course because of the human catastrophe currently taking place in the country, caused by the devastating earthquakes, to travel to the country as a tourist on your own. Whoever cannot or does not want to avoid visiting Haiti should contact a tour operator who is experienced with the country beforehand.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Historic national park with citadel, Sans Souci Palace and ruins of Ramiers

Haiti was discovered by Columbus in 1492. It wasn’t voluntary that he landed here, but one of his ships leaked, and so they had to anchor here. Some of his men stayed on the island and were supposed to be picked up later. When Columbus went to fetch them a year later, most of them were no longer alive; they had been murdered by the natives.

Haiti occupies the western part of the Caribbean island of Hispanola. Haiti consists of two elongated peninsulas that protrude into the Caribbean Sea and on the other eastern side into the Atlantic Ocean in the north. There are four mountain ranges in Haiti, which has an area of around 28,000 km². The highest mountain in the mountains is the Pic de la Selle in the southeast with a height of 2,680 m.

The peninsulas enclose a large bay, the Gulf of Gonaïves, in the middle of which is the island of Ile de la Gonave. The French founded the city of Port-au-Prince on the Gulf of Gonaïves in 1749, and it became the capital of Saint-Domingue in 1770. The people of Haiti, the Arawaks, were almost completely wiped out after the island was discovered. The resident whites needed workers for their sugar plantations and so slaves were brought from Africa. This created a new class of the population.

In 1804, Haiti became the first Caribbean country to gain independence, and the structures protected today date from the 19th century, from the time of Haiti’s declaration of independence. The buildings are the first buildings constructed by former slaves who were able to use their freedom. The ruins of the Palais Sans-Souci lie south above the town of Milot in the mountains south of Cap Haitien. It was the former residence of King Henri Christophe. The palace is called Sans-Soucis because the construction and furnishings were copied from the palace of Friedrich II of Prussia.

These sites have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1982. It is to be feared that the sites will be damaged by the earthquake from 13.1. In 2010 they were seriously affected – if not completely destroyed.

Presidential palace

The palace of the President of Haiti was built as a magnificent building in 1918 at the time of the American occupation under US President Woodrow Wilson. It is located on the Champ de Mars in the middle of Port-au-Prince. In the earthquake of 12./13. January 2010 he was seriously affected. Whether it will be demolished and rebuilt or rebuilt cannot currently be foreseen.

Churches

There is currently no overview of which churches and to what extent were destroyed by the earthquake of January 13, 2010.

Sights on the north coast

Cap Haïtien and the wreck of the Santa María

In the northern region of Haiti you can head to the picturesque town of Cap Haïtien at the foot of the mountains, where the wreck of the ship Santa María, with which Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola in 1492, is said to be located Has.

Colonial heritage on the north coast of Haiti

The very green north coast is worth seeing because of its many remnants from the beginning of the colonial era. These include impressive citadels and palaces (some of which only exist as ruins). The ruins of the Sanssouci Palace are definitely one of the most famous buildings in the region. As the name suggests, it was built based on the French model.

Sights on the south coast

Civadier Beach

This beach extends about seven kilometers from Jacmel. It nestles against a picturesque bay strewn with coconut palms and is dominated by a bungalow hotel, which also includes a tropical garden that is well worth seeing.

Jacmel

This city impresses with a picturesque little harbor and a multitude of pretty wooden houses that have been built in colonial style. There is also a beach within the city, which could look and be picturesque if it weren’t for that neglected. You can reach Jacmel via a breathtaking mountain road that is a sight enough in itself.

Kenscoff

The city of Kenscoff is also located on the Haitian south coast. It is located high in the mountains and is popular with the locals as a vacation spot.

Beaches on the southern coast of Haiti

The southern coast of Haiti is in great demand as a wonderful holiday region not only among foreign visitors to the country, but also among local travelers. The numerous picturesque beaches are particularly popular.

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