Katoz Fevriye in Haiti, next to April Fool’s Day (or pwason d’avril) is one of my favorite days. First of all, I would really recommend reading the April Fool’s Day blog that I linked to, it was early on, but it is a pretty funny day in Haiti.
Anyway, just like here in America, Haitians celebrate February 14. My guess, and this does not include any research at all, is that Valentine’s Day in Haiti is just an American holiday that the country adopted at some point in time. The days are pretty similar. The following list is what we have seen with our kids in Haiti, and I think you will see the similarities:
- You should wear pink.
- You will attend a party at either your school, church, or other organization that you are a part of.
- Whatever organization is hosting your party will ask you to bring something and usually more if they know that you are connected to Americans. (just fyi, our kids have been asked to bring a lot of things to a lot of different events since we have been in Haiti)
- The kids will get very excited about the day even though most of them do not really understand why.
- If you want to do something for someone on this day, it always involves chocolate. There are no Valentine’s Day cards, you do not go out on a date, and you only buy flowers as an afterthought. The whole day, at least for our kids, is centered around chocolate.
A few years ago I remember wanting to do something for Jessica on Valentine’s Day while we were in Haiti. My idea was to get a lot of small gifts (a 2 Liter Sunkist, some Casino Cookies (Haitian Brand), Pringles, and a few other small things like that) so that each kid could come into our house and give Jessica something. When I told them about the plan, they were really excited and wanted to help me at the store purchasing everything. So we discussed our plan and what we would buy her prior to our outing.
We almost had to cancel the whole thing. All they could say was that we had to buy her chocolate. Whether it be this drink similar to hot chocolate that Marjorie makes or just small Haitian chocolate from the market, that is all they could think about. The mere suggestion of anything other than chocolate was foreign to them. Even after I told them that Jessica did not like chocolate all that much, this news did not faze them at all nor did it deter them from their desire to purchase chocolate for Jessica.
In the end, they followed my plan. I did, after all, have the money and the knowledge of what Jessica actually likes. But the funny thing was how ingrained the idea of chocolate on Valentine’s Day was to each of them. It did not matter what the person that you were showing your love to actually liked, all that mattered was that it was Valentine’s Day and they were going to get chocolate.
The bottom line is:
Happy Valentine’s Day, or Katoz Fevriye, From All Things New!