Haitian Montrealers celebrate country’s independence by helping the homeless on Jan. 1

For Haitians Montrealers, Jan. 1 isn’t just New Years Day.

“Jan. 1 is our independence day in Haiti,” said Aly Acadia, beaming, as he stirred a large pot of soup in the kitchen at Pikliz, a restaurant in the city’s St. Henri neighbourhood.

He was there with about a dozen other Haitian Montrealers preparing the soup to hand out to the homeless.

Myriam Joseph, who organized the event, explained that the soup is significant.

“We call it our freedom soup and it’s meant to be shared,”  she told Global News.

Haiti, a former French colony, brought Africans to the island as slaves for centuries.  During much of that time, “slaves were not allowed to eat soup at all,” according to restaurant co-owner Akim Acadia.

“So on Jan. 1, 1804, when the country got independence, they celebrated by making soup.”

That, he said, is why the tradition continues to this day.

“Haitians don’t play,” he laughed.

“When it’s Jan. 1, we all have soup with family.  It’s a big thing for us.”

Source: Read Full Article