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Happy Flag Day!: Celebrating Unity and Freedom

Flag Day is one of the most patriotic days for citizens of Haiti. Just as any country’s citizens, the national flag is a symbol of pride and carries with it the history of Haiti - the first black republic to be established after a successful slave rebellion. Their national anthem sings its praise, and Haitians wear their flag with confident faith every day.

The major national holiday is celebrated with great fanfare on the grounds of the national palace and at celebrations across the country - including at Pwoje Espwa!

Residents, students and staff come together for a day of festivities.

Adorned in red and blue and waving their Haitian flags to the national anthem, the children laughed as they competed in sac races and other competitions, and marched to military drills in honor of the fight of their ancestors for freedom. Speakers from Les Cayes also joined the program, such as the Director of Education for the Sud Department.

The activities, organized by the principals of the Pwoje Espwa schools, brought together residents, community children, staff and teachers to celebrate their history, strength, and unity. Sharing their nation’s history with younger generations is a privilege and a tribute to their ancestors’ beautiful struggle for independence. It serves as a reminder of their unity and strength amidst the current sociopolitical and economic challenges the country faces today.

Use the arrows to the left and right of the photos to scroll through captured moments from the celebrations!

Singing of the National Anthem

We ask for your continued prayers, as more protests have been announced against the government throughout the country for today. For this reason, Flag Day celebrations took place at Pwoje Espwa yesterday to avoid any risk for our staff and community.

Please pray for the safety of the children and staff at Pwoje Espwa, their families, our communities, and for all Haiti’s citizens.

More about Haiti's flag

The ideals of the French Revolution of 1789 – liberty, equality and fraternity – permeated Haitian society, and eventually led Haitians to lead a successful slave revolt against their French colonizers in 1791.

At first, the French tricolor – red, white and blue – was used as a symbol of belief in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, and the representation of blacks, whites, and mulattoes living in harmony. However, as a break with France became more inevitable, in 1803 leaders of the Haitian revolution decided to remove the white stripe, symbolically imparting the message to the French that they had lost the colony. The blue represented the blacks and mulattoes, while the red symbolized their blood.

On May 18, 1803, before marching on Port-au-Prince with their troops, Dessalines and Petion, leaders of the revolution in different areas of the country, agreed on an official flag, and a woman named Catherine Flon sewed Haiti’s first flag. Although the flag has adopted several changes through various regime changes, the red and blue have remained constant symbols of the Haitian masses.

The flag that is used today closely resembles the original flag. It consists of blue and red horizontal stripes with the coat of arms centered in the middle. The coat of arms comprises a palm tree surmounted by a liberty cap, surrounded by flags, rifles, hatchets, cannons, anchors, masts and other symbols. The motto “L’Union fait la force” (“In unity there is strength”) wraps underneath it.

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