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May 18 in Haiti: Celebration of the Flag and University Day18 Mai Haïti
May 18 in Haiti: Celebration of the Flag and University Day
18 Mai Haïti
  • May 17, 2024
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May 18 in Haiti: Celebration of the Flag and University Day

May 18 is an emblematic date in Haiti, marked by the celebration of the Flag and University Days. This day commemorates the creation of the Haitian flag and highlights the importance of education and universities in the country. The history and meaning of this day are deeply rooted in Haitian national identity.

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Origins and Historical Significance

On May 18, 1803, during the Arcahaie Congress, the leaders of the Haitian revolution, under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, decided to create a distinct flag to symbolize their fight against French colonization. According to tradition, Dessalines tore up the French tricolor, keeping only the blue and red stripes, which he sewed together horizontally to form the first Haitian flag. This action symbolized the break with France and the unity of the revolutionary forces.

Flag Day is therefore a tribute to the efforts and sacrifices of Haitian ancestors for independence, officially obtained on January 1, 1804. The flag, as an emblem of the nation, is a constant reminder of the freedom won and the ideals of justice and equality that guided the revolutionaries.

Discover the history of Haiti: A fascinating story to explore! :

Campus Henry-Christophe de Limonade (CHCL)Campus Henry-Christophe de Limonade (CHCL)

University Festival

May 18 is also dedicated to the University in Haiti. This association was born from the recognition of the crucial role that education plays in the development and emancipation of Haitian society. Higher education institutions, students and teachers are celebrated for their contributions to the knowledge, culture and socio-economic growth of the country.

University Day highlights the importance of education as a pillar of progress and social change. It encourages young people to continue their studies and actively contribute to the future of the nation.

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Celebrations and Events

Every year, May 18 is marked by various celebrations across the country. Parades, speeches, official ceremonies and cultural activities are held to honor the flag and the university. Schools, government institutions and local communities actively participate in these festivities.

Ceremonies often take place in symbolic places like Arcahaie, where the flag was created, as well as in other historic cities like Cap-Haitien. Haitians, whether on national territory or in the diaspora, proudly display their flag, celebrating their heritage and identity.

Vertières, Fort Mazi: Beyond historical truth;

If you look up the word vertière in a French dictionary, you will not find it for fear that the world does not know this place represents the Achilles heels of the most powerful European army. What’s more, this one had just successfully won the eastern campaign. French historians of the time erased this geographical location from the radar of history because they did not want to tell the story as it is in the sense of explaining the first great humiliation of the expeditionary army French by bands of slaves who were totally ignorant in the art of waging war, much less in the handling of weapons. However, these illiterate wars routed the Napoleonic army, the most powerful at that time, using the means at hand. This expeditionary army, after having brought Europe to its knees, would experience its first rout by slaves in this geographical location, located in the Northern department of Haiti. Funny story, this city is not on the list of French words even though given its historical importance, it should be at the heart of universal history, far from putting an end to the invincibility of the undefeated army army. So as not to offend the white masters, no political leader has ever asked why vertière does not appear in any French dictionary? However, they celebrate this battle with great fanfare every November 18. What historic hypocrisy among our leaders! After Vertière many other historical places are strangled by historians in order to hide the extremes of atrocities of the French colonists on the slaves. It is in this context of historical strangulation that “Fort Mazi” is not mentioned in school history textbooks. This is located in Petit-Goave, 2nd municipal section, Arnoux locality. We came across this mega fort, during a mobile clinic entirely financed by the Ernest Junior foundation, a charitable foundation which works in the social sector, particularly in the field of art and music. According to residents , the oldest in this locality, this fort was built on at least 20 squares of earth by the settlers. It was a huge military complex divided into compartments, outposts, turtle rooms, rooms for treating colonists, a large Catholic church, and a cemetery. However, we never talk about this fort so much so that it is ignored by history teachers in the town of Petit-Goave. Certainly, the desired disappearance of this fort under the radar of history buries the atrocities, the barbarities, the most inhumane punishments of the colonists on the slaves. Looking closely at reality, everything seems true that it is the largest fort ever built during the period of colonization. Moreover, it probably seems the most fortified in relation to its importance. Remember that Vertière only exists in Haitian school history textbooks while Fort Mazi does not appear, much less in French dictionaries or history books. This explains why this fort was a secret place in which the settlers practiced crimes and atrocities that went beyond human understanding. Is it not a clear desire of historians to hide what this immense fort built on at least 20 tiles of earth really was? Discover the history of Haiti: A fascinating story to explore! :

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Importance for Youth and the Diaspora

For Haitian youth, May 18 is a source of inspiration and a reminder of their potential and their role in society. It is a day to reflect on the values ​​of patriotism, courage and determination. It also reinforces the importance of education and encourages young people to aspire to high ideals.

For the Haitian diaspora, the Flag and University Festival is an opportunity to reconnect with their roots and celebrate their culture, despite the distance. Haitian communities around the world hold events to commemorate the day, strengthening ties with their home country and passing on the heritage to subsequent generations.

May 18 is more than just a date on the Haitian calendar; it is a celebration of the history, culture and spirit of resilience of the Haitian people. The Flag and University Day embodies the struggle for freedom and the importance of education as a transformative force. On this day, Haitians come together to honor their past, celebrate their present and inspire their future.

About the Author
Appolon Guy Alain

Full Stack Developer, Créatif, expérimenté, passionné des nouvelles technologies et de l’art.

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Natural beauty

Natural beauty

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Haïti has a rich and diverse culture, influenced by African, European and indigenous elements. Haitian music, dance, art and cuisine are celebrated around the world.