Celebrating Haitian Independence With Soup Joumou

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — It wasn't just New Years that was being celebrated on Saturday, it was Haitian Independence Day, and time for the making of the traditional Haitian soup joumou."

"Joumou," meaning pumpkin in English, has a lot more ingredients than that said Executive Director of the Association of Haitian Women in Boston Carline Desire. "Beef, carrots, turnips, potatoes, cabbage, celery, you must have celery, leek, garlic, onion, cloves, fresh- I repeat, fresh thyme, green or red pepper," said Desire, naming just a portion of what goes into making soup joumou.

A traditional dish served after many Haitians attend church at midnight, Desire said soup joumou means freedom. "After being robbed of all of our dignity, you're telling us we cannot have a soup? No, today we will have the soup for the entire day- you can no longer tell me I cannot eat what I want," Desire said.

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Desire said that before Haiti won its independence on January 1, 1804, slaves had to cook soup joumou for their masters, but were not allowed to eat it themselves. Becoming a symbol of defiance, soup joumou was put on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's cultural heritage list.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports.

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