To start the traditional Haitian celebration, I decorate the entire house and set up"L'arbre de Noël" or Christmas tree. Prior to going to mass, the family prepares many dishes. The classic rice and beans, riz djon-djon (rice with mushroom), griot ( seasoned fried pork) fried plantains, poulet en sauce ( well seasoned chicken with sauce) pain patate ( sweet potato pie) salade verte (green salad) bouillon ( spinach soup made with flour dumplings, and beef, pâté ( flaky pastry filled with well seasoned ground beef) With the meal comes gâteau à l'ananas (pineapple upside-down cake or fruits. It is also part of the tradition to have home-made liqueur, anis, coconut, and mint.
I remember as a little girl staying up until around 6 am talking and having fun. From the start of December, the air is filled with Christmas songs in French and Créole. Children played with "Pluie d'étoile" ( metal stick, once lit, turns into a fire work of bright stars). We got up at around noon Christmas day; we ate some of the leftover foods. The idea is to make enough food that can be consumed for Christmas day too. Christmas day is spent relaxing and spending more time with family.
Even though my husband is American, and I live in the United States, I still carry on this tradition. My three children really enjoy eating the foods. After arriving from church Christmas Eve, the table is set, we sit down to indulge in a true Haitian feast. At midnight, we open gifts and afterward spend time with family playing games and talking.
I am very thankful to live in the United States. We have so much freedom in this great country. Despite being a foreigner, I still have the choice to celebrate my own tradition. I have a great job that pays me well, and I have the freedom to make every single holiday very special for both family and friends. I am truly living the American Dream. Thank you America! You are Great ! Happy Holiday Everyone!
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs: