Christmas in Haiti is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28 day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.
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In Haiti, the Christmas season begins on 1 December. Very soon after December gets underway, people are already out shopping for a Christmas tree or scouting one out in the mountains to cut down. The tree will be decorated much as in the US and other countries, but with one difference. A nativity scene of large proportions is invariably set up underneath it.
When kids go to sleep on Christmas Eve in Haiti, they put out their shoes filled up with straw for Santa’s horses. They hope Jolly Old Saint Nick will take the straw and leave some candy in the shoe in its place. Children spend time cleaning and shining up their shoes to increase the chances of getting “a good return”.
Homes are decorated with lights, which are left on all night on 24 December. People typically stay up all night and may visit houses of friends and relatives as late as 3am. Many will be out late Christmas carolling too.
Many attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve as well. Then, they eat dinner, but it’s really more like breakfast since it’s eaten early on Christmas morning.
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