Joyeux Noël, Merry Christmas
Have you ever wondered how families celebrate Christmas in Haiti or what Christmas in Haiti looks like? Obviously there’s no snow but what about gifts, decorations, and church services? The U.S. has easily made Christmas a busy and commercial holiday but in Haiti, Christmas resembles more of the first Christmas in simplicity and worship.
The Christmas and New Year’s season is a special time in Haiti and “very big” as RoRo describes it. On Christmas Eve families join at church for a special worship and prayer service around 8 pm which lasts late into the evening, sometimes even until midnight. After the worship service, everyone joins for a Reveillon or special fellowship where they share a big meal together. The meal consists of rice, beans, chicken, goat, turkey and fried bananas. They also share small gifts with each other such as a soccer ball for the children, a dress for the women or a handkerchief for the men. Families also purchase a gift for their children and try to prepare a good meal on Christmas. Some homes are decorated with a Christmas tree; large branches from trees with lights and tree limbs wrapped with cotton to resemble snow.
Christmas in Haiti is a season full of giving as families look back at the story of the Magi coming from the west to share gifts with Jesus. RoRo remembers as a child however, not particularly liking Christmas because some families in his neighborhood did not have money to buy gifts. So RoRo shared his gifts and food with them. These were kids he went to school with, his friends. He wanted to make sure they received a gift too.
On New Year’s Eve families once again join together for a special worship service at church to sing and share testimonies of how God has been good to them throughout the year. Services start around 8 pm and again can last until midnight. After the service, everyone joins for a Reveillon or special fellowship. On January 1st parents buy their children a new set of clothes so the children can go from home to home wishing neighbors a Happy New Year!
Although Christmas is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world the gift of Christmas is the same. Jesus is the greatest gift! We celebrate Christmas to celebrate the gift Jesus has given us, freedom in Christ and eternal life with our Father! RoRo and Eline send you a special wish of Joyeux Noël and Bonne Annee 2020!