(Photo: Richardson Dorvil)
Haiti has a diverse cultural heritage that draws upon French, Spanish, and African traditions as well as Caribbean island culture. The people of Haiti are resilient, vibrant, and talented. They have expressive and colorful artwork as well as a rich oral tradition which they pass down from generation to generation. They are spiritual, have many proverbs, and appreciate and compose a variety of music.
Understanding Haitian culture before embarking on any development project is important. A good project will require active participation from members of Haitian communities. Just as you would for any other business or creative venture, you need to understand not only the population that you serve, but also the people that you will work with.
Below are sources of information about Haitian holidays, music, pop-culture, proverbs, and art. We also provide additional web links and documents that discuss:
Haitian Holidays The CRUDEM Foundation lists all major Haitian holidays and provides descriptions, explanations, and colorful photos.
Music in Haiti This article written by the CRUDEM Foundation provides many details and photos that pertain to the religious, political, and modern music genres in Haiti.
Listen to Haitian Music ARTSEDGE, a publication of the Kennedy Center, analyzes the musical style of Haiti and provides audio clips so that a listener may hear for him/herself.
Latest Haitian Music The HaitianBeatz organization keeps the public informed as to the latest hits in Haitian music. Additionally, their site provides social commentary, interviews of Haitian celebrities, videos, and even articles about fashion, cooking, exercise and7or students.
The Haitian American on Facebook A cultural page where Haitian and non-Haitian Americans alike can learn the latest regarding Haitian cultural news. Also lists fun recipes, music, and artwork, and lauds the accomplishments of those of Haitian descent.
Haitian Proverbs Link to a PDF with some of Haiti’s greatest proverbs relating to suffering, strength, honesty, determination, and resilience.
Haitian Art Gallery Beautiful gallery of Haitian artwork for viewing and purchase. Painting are categorized by artist.
HaitianArt.com Yet another beautiful gallery of Haitian artwork for viewing and purchase. Paintings are categorized by theme rather than artist.
Culture Crossing A community guide to cross-cultural etiquette and understanding. Covers in-depth topics such as personal space, touching, eye contact, gift-giving, negotiation, gestures, taboos, and MORE!
Centre for Intercultural Learning (Canada) Another fantastic site that covers in-depth cultural topics such as preferred managerial qualities, display of emotion, relationship-building, favoritism in the workplace, and motivating local colleagues in the context of Haiti.EveryCulture.com This site covers topics such as food, social stratification, economy, urbanism, architecture, use of space and national identity as well as marriage, family, and kinship in great detail.