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Soup Joumou- Haiti's Independence Day

Soup Joumou- Haiti's Independence Day

New Year & Independence Day in Haiti- Soup Joumou

Around the world, many celebrated New Year on January 1st and Haiti was not the exception! However, in Haiti, it’s a lot more than just New Year, it is also their Independence Day! Yup, on January 1st, Haiti ushers in the New Year with that national pride that Independence Days are known for. And they do so, with a very unique tradition: making Soup Joumou!

But what is this soup and what makes it so important? Soup Jomou is a soup traditionally cooked with winter squashes simmered in a saucepan with pieces of beef, potato, plantains, and vegetables. The squash is pureed and returned to the saucepan. Salt and seasoning, lime, garlic, parsley, herbs and spices are added. This soup is always served hot and usually accompanied with bread. Now, based off this brief description, I’m sure your mouth is already watering, but the fact that it is a delicious Haitian dish is not the reasonit has become their signature dish. The truth is that this soup has come to represent their freedom, emancipation and independence.

How exactly? Well, during slavery in Haiti, only the French colonial masters and plantation owners were allowed to enjoy this Soup Joumou, this exquisite delicacy, which was prepared by slaves. After a long and tough revolution, which lasted 12 years, 4 months, 1 week and 4 days, when they finally gained their independence in January 1st, 1804, it is said that Haitians celebrated by making Soup Joumou. What was once forbidden to them, came to be claimed as their symbol for freedom, emancipation and independence. So much so that in December 2021, Haiti obtained official recognition for the knowledge, know-how, and practices pertaining to the consumption of Soup Joumou on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. (To learn more about what this is, click here!)

So if you have any Haitian friends, remember, when the world is celebrating their New Year, they are also celebrating their independence, and with no better or more fitting way than with a bowl of delicious Soup Joumou! If you ask nicely, maybe they'll even share some with you! 

(Now, if you want to try some of this delicious pumpkin soup, check the following link for an amazing recipe: