Christmas in Haiti – Earthquake Couldn’t Shake Their Devotion to Son of God

Christmas in Haiti is celebrated by both the religious and non-religious. Celebrations begin at the beginning of December when families go out to get a Christmas tree.

In Haiti, some families purchase artificial trees, whereas others will head to the mountains to cut one down themselves. These trees are taken home and decorated with colorful ornaments.

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Christmas Decorations in Haiti

Haitians also decorate their homes for the holidays. They will use bright, colorful lights that light up the streets. Nativity scenes are a huge part of Christmas decorations used in Haitian homes.

These scenes are sometimes so lavish and extraordinary that they take up an entire room.

Christmas for Children in Haiti

For children, Christmas in Haiti is a grand celebration. As the streets light up with colorful lights, children run around and sometimes even stay out until early in the morning.

Some are even permitted to enjoy a sweetened beverage that contains a small amount of alcohol.

On the night before Christmas, children wash their shoes and fill them with straw. They then place the shoes near or under the tree.

The idea is that Santa Claus, known in Haiti as “Tonton Nwèl,” will take out the straw and replace it with goodies for the children to enjoy.

Christmas Cuties

Christmas Traditions in Haiti

For religious families, there are Midnight Mass church services. Some non-religious families will opt to go caroling instead.

After the church services are over, most Haitians head home for a quiet evening where they enjoy a large meal.

The children typically spend their time enjoying the toys brought by Tonton Nwèl.

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Christmas in Haiti Today

Haiti has changed quite a bit since the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010.
As a result, Christmas celebrations aren’t quite as lavish as they once were.

There are charities and organizations that volunteer in Haiti to make Christmas a special occasion for the families there.

In Haiti Happy/Merry Christmas in Creole/Hatian is ‘Jwaye Nowe’. French is also commonly spoken in Haiti where it is ‘Joyeux Noël’. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.

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Main Points About Christmas in Haiti

  1. In Haiti, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and the busiest.
  2. From the beginning of December, Haitians are already looking for Christmas trees. Nativity scenes and Christmas decorations often take a large part of the living room.
  3. On Christmas eve, many people go for the evening mass, while some may go out caroling. After this, families and loved ones enjoy their Christmas meal.
  4. Christmas day is usually quieter than is expected as many people are home sleeping off the celebrations from the previous night.
  5. Many Haitians wear very colorful attires on Christmas day; especially women and children.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in Haiti

  1. How do they celebrate Christmas in Haiti?

    People are filled with joy, emotions, happiness, and enthusiasm during the time of Christmas eve. The people of Haiti celebrate Christmas by visiting the nearest churches and praying and worshipping Lord Jesus.

    At the Midnight the people come together in groups and sing the traditional song Minuit Chrétien.

  2. What do they eat in Haiti for Christmas?

    A traditional dish which is written on Christmas eve in Haiti is rice with djon djon. Apart from this various other dishes are also consumed like rice and beans, chicken creole, fried Accra, goat, pineapple upside-down cake or orange cake.

  3. How do you say Merry Christmas in Haiti?

    Merry Christmas in Haiti is spoken as Jwaye Nowe.

  4. Does Haiti have a Santa Claus?

    The people of Haiti celebrate Christmas Eve every year in the month of December. They believe in Santa Claus and call him by the name of Tonton Nwèl.


Haitians put a large nativity scene at the bottom of their tree, which they have started to look for in early December.

Children put their newly cleaned shoes filled with straw under another tree on the porch on Christmas Eve and hope that Santa will exchange the straw with presents in and around the shoe.

Christmas Day is a quiet day while the big celebration takes place on Christmas Eve until early morning Christmas Day.

Word Cloud for Christmas in Haiti

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Haiti. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.