Haitian Heritage Month is a celebration of Haitian Heritage and Culture lasting from May 1 to May 31 and is an extension of Haitian Flag Day, a patriotic holiday which takes place on May 18. The month-long celebration is a nationally recognized holiday in Haiti, the U.S., and throughout Diaspora. In previous years, Haitian Flag Day was commemorated in Boston with a parade along Blue Hill Avenue through Dorchester and Mattapan.
This month was first celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1998, by a Boston Haitian Access Television Program called “Tele Kreyol”. Throughout the entire month, Tele Kreyol celebrated Haitian heritage with a series of programming on Haitian Culture, history and world contributions. These celebrations have grown and continued to this day with parades, flag raisings and other activities in cities throughout the United States.
Boston is home to one of the largest populations of Haitian immigrants in the United States. Not only is the population large, it is also incredibly active, with several community organizations based in the city, including Haitian Americans United, Haitian American Public Health Initiatives, Inc., the Boston Haitian Reporter and more than 10 small businesses, making it no surprise this celebration originated in the Bay State.
Many of the traditional celebrations will be put on hold this year due to COVID 19 concerns; however, there will still be virtual celebrations taking place to commemorate the month. On May 14, the 26th Annual Haitian Flag Raising will take place at Boston City Hall Plaza. There will also be a Virtual International Haitian Heritage Month Celebration on May 16, which will be hosted by Haitian-Americans United, Inc. (H.A.U.) along with partner organizations.