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Dessalines Day

Honor the legacy of Haitian leader Dessalines on his national holiday with cultural celebrations and events showcasing the country's rich history and traditions.
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October 17
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Get ready to celebrate Dessalines Day on October 17! This holiday is named after Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a Haitian revolutionary leader who played a crucial role in the country's independence. On this day, Haitians honor Dessalines and his contributions to their nation by participating in parades, concerts, and other cultural events. It's also a time for reflection and remembrance of Haiti's history and the struggles that led to its freedom. So let's join in on the celebrations and pay tribute to one of Haiti's most influential figures!

History of Dessalines Day

Dessalines Day Dates

Dessalines Day Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1758</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Birth of Dessalines</div><div class='timeline-text'>Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a key figure in Haitian history, is born in West Africa and later brought to Haiti as a slave.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1804</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Haitian Independence</div><div class='timeline-text'>Dessalines declares Haiti's independence from France, becoming the country's first ruler of the newly independent state.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1806</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Assassination of Dessalines</div><div class='timeline-text'>Dessalines is assassinated, leaving a lasting legacy as a significant figure in the fight for Haitian independence.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1904</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Dessalines Day Celebration</div><div class='timeline-text'>The first official Dessalines Day is celebrated, a century after Haitian independence, to honor the country's founding leader.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2004</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Bicentenary Commemoration</div><div class='timeline-text'>Haiti marks the 200th anniversary of its independence with various events, reaffirming the significance of Dessalines Day in the nation's cultural calendar.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2021</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Current Dessalines Day Celebrations</div><div class='timeline-text'>Dessalines Day is celebrated with cultural events such as parades and concerts, with people reflecting on Haiti's history and Dessalines' impact to this day.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Dessalines Day

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a parade or festival</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Many cities and towns hold parades and festivals to celebrate Dessalines Day. Check your local community calendar to see if there are any events near you.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Learn about Haitian history and culture</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Dessalines Day is a great opportunity to learn more about Haiti's rich history and culture. Visit a museum, read a book, or watch a documentary about the country and its people.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Cook a traditional Haitian meal</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Celebrate Dessalines Day by cooking up some traditional Haitian dishes, such as griot (fried pork), rice and beans, or poul ak nwa (chicken in black mushroom sauce).</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Listen to Haitian music</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Put on some Haitian music and dance the night away in celebration of Dessalines Day. You can also attend a live performance or concert featuring Haitian musicians.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Volunteer or donate to a Haitian charity</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Honor the legacy of Jean-Jacques Dessalines by giving back to the Haitian community. Consider volunteering your time or donating to a charity that supports Haiti's development and well-being.</p></div></div>

Why Dessalines Day is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It honors a key figure in Haitian history</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Dessalines Day is named after Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a leader in the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of Haiti after its independence. This holiday serves as a reminder of his contributions to the country and the struggles of the Haitian people during this time.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It celebrates Haitian culture and identity</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>On Dessalines Day, people in Haiti participate in parades, musical performances, and other festivities that showcase their unique traditions and customs. It's a day to celebrate what makes Haiti special and to strengthen bonds within the community.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It promotes unity and pride</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Dessalines Day is a national holiday in Haiti, meaning most businesses and schools are closed for the day. This allows families and friends to come together and reflect on their shared history and culture. It is also a time to look towards the future with hope and determination.</p></div></div>

5 Unearthed Facts about Dessalines Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Dessalines Day was formerly known as the "Day of the Race"</h3><p class='facts-content'>Prior to 1904, this holiday was known as the "Day of the Race" or "Día de la Raza". It was only renamed to Dessalines Day at the centennial of Haitian independence.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Dessalines was originally a slave</h3><p class='facts-content'>Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a former enslaved person who rose to lead a successful rebellion against French colonial rule. His story showcases resilience and determination.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Dessalines was a firm believer in racial equality</h3><p class='facts-content'>As Emperor of Haiti, Dessalines implemented policies aimed at promoting racial equality and ensuring the rights of both black and mixed-race Haitians were respected.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Dessalines Day engages the younger generation through school events</h3><p class='facts-content'>On Dessalines Day, many schools organize events such as essay-writing contests, choir presentations, and drama performances that feature the story of Dessalines, helping to pass on the legacy to younger generations.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Dessalines is honored with monuments across Haiti</h3><p class='facts-content'>Marks of Dessalines' influence are peppered across Haiti, with the most prominent statue of him located in the capital, Port-au-Prince. On Dessalines Day, these monuments become focal points of ceremonies and lay wreaths.</p></div></div>

Dessalines Day FAQs

When is Dessalines Day?

Dessalines Day is celebrated on October 17 every year.In 2024 Dessalines Day will occur on a Thursday.

Dessalines Day Dates



Oct 17



Oct 17



Oct 17



Oct 17



Oct 17


Cultural Holidays