Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas in Haiti without spicy Creole meat pies, eaten hot at four in the morning after returning from mass.
Everyone enjoys crispy "griot de porc" served with "banann peze" (chunks of fried plantain), "riz collé ak pwa" (rice and peas, a delicious rice dish that includes numerous kinds of peas and beans, that may include green, red, black, romano or Lima beans), or djon djon rice (made with black mushrooms), alongside pikliz, a kind of local coleslaw.
For dessert you'll usually find a fruit salad with banana, papaya and passion fruit, pineapple upside down cake or orange cake. The night continues with singing and dancing. This is when children receive presents from "Tonton Noël," the Haitian name for Santa Claus, believing he comes straight from Alaska, because there's no snow here.
On Christmas Day comes the big Christmas meal. The whole family comes together in the afternoon at the home of whoever has the biggest house! Christmas dinner is a repeat of the same dishes served during reveillon with an array of additional dishes such as roast turkey, ham, tassot turkey, macaroni and cheese, Russian salad, and so on.
This emblematic drink, called "crémasse" in French or "kremas" in Creole, is a cousin of American eggnog: a sweet, thick, creamy liqueur. Known for centuries, this recipe, handed down from generation to generation, has many variations, each with subtle adaptations: dark rum, white rum, sometimes 40° alcohol, the proportion of coconut milk and spice... but the flavor stays essentially the same: it's aways just as delicious and slightly dangerous!
In Haiti, the new year holds special importance. It happens to coincide with Haitian independence day. Since 1804, on the first day of the year, all Haitians share in the famous "joumou" soup, made with West Indian pumpkin, beef, vegetables, spices and noodles, a symbol of freedom and victory.
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