Fanm Djanm means Strong Woman in Haitian Kreyol. It is an homage to women who work with their hands in Haiti so I thought I’d share a few things about what January 1 means to Haitians everywhere.
Happy New Year, friends! I hope you’re having a restful day. Today, just like you, I’m celebrating the new year, but I’m also celebrating Haiti’s 219th Independence Day with my family, and we're eating soup joumou. My family and I emigrated from Haiti in 1999. The traditions are forever ingrained in our hearts.
Soup Joumou (Squash Soup) is the heart of the New Year/Independence Day for Haitians everywhere. It is typically made with calabazza squash (we couldn't find any so we substituted for butternut squash), beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, noodles, and many other fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. Soup joumou reminds me of home. Not home (my country), but the feeling. The warmth and richness of it wrap me up like a warm embrace. The flavors awake my happy memories of Haiti. I also love that it's a team project. My mom, daughter, and I worked together by peeling vegetable, preparing the squash, adding all of the necessary spices and herbs. We eat the soup from morning to night. It’s an all-day treat!
The story goes that enslaved Haitians were forbidden to eat soup joumou despite being the ones to cook and prepare the decadent dish. It was a delicacy only served to the white masters and a symbol of status. On January 1, 1804, after an almost thirteen-year revolution, Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité Bonheur Dessalines, the first empress of Haiti and Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ wife, distributed the soup to freed Haitians.
Some facts about the Haitian Revolution:
The only successful slave revolt in history.
Haiti became the second independent nation in the Americas and the first in Latin America.
Haiti gained its independence on January 1, 1804.
The Haitian Revolution lasted 12 years, 4 months, 1 week and 4 days.