Unesco gave Haitian Soup Joumou a level one status. This makes it the first-ever Haitian dish to be granted this honor. After this, the soup will now officially have “cultural significance and importance for all humanity as indicated by its nutritional content in terms of macro-nutrients like proteins or minerals required by human bodies; together with micronutrients such salt which brings out flavors.”
To start with, Haitians for generations have been eaten a dish called “soup joumou” or the slave’s soup. So, the name comes from its origins as an offering made by slaves for their masters. Initially, they offered it to thank them after doing some work around their house such as washing dishes. Actually, there is much more behind this simple cuisine.
The Haitian Soup – The freedom soup is now official
In addition, after the revolution, Haitians ate this soup to remember freedom. It functioned as a symbol of their independence and emancipation from French oppression in Haiti. As a result, the Haitian people were able to enjoy food that would have been otherwise banned by France. The dish came to be known affectionately among them after millennia-long living under colonization: “Haitian Liberty”.
Haitians all over the world celebrate on January 1st as a piece of history is made. The first successful slave rebellion led to an entire country going against their masters and taking control for themselves, with this soup!
How Haitian Soup Joumou may have started
Understandably, there were many slaves transported from Haiti because they wanted access to produce both coffee & sugar. This makes up half our global supply.
The slaves of African descent were imported to the Western Hemisphere. Their cultural retention was present in many aspects. They had religious ideas that traced back from home. Also, they brought culinary techniques which they picked up along their journey. As well as techniques they picked through North America or Caribbean islands like Cuba or Jamaica. There is still much history left behind by these people who once inhabited this landmass thousands upon centuries ago before European colonization occurred.
Food as a gateway to culture
This hearty meal embodies not only comfort but also hope and dignity. The two things we need now more than ever following devastating natural disasters and the dire circumstances the country is in.
You can make Soup Joumou using a mixture of turban squash (joumou), meat potatoes, or yams alongside malanga root vegetables such as turnips & chili peppers. By the way, it is no wonder this humble meal can be seen as an offering that embodies ‘hope’ with its promise whether fulfilled through sustenance or disappointment!
The Haitian people tirelessly fought against adversity while maintaining an unbreakable spirit thanks largely due to these dishes they prepare at home. Moreover, Unesco protects them now by giving them protected status under international law.
Thursday, December 17th, 2021 Soup Joumou became a tradition. Unesco added the Haitian soup Joumou to its prestigious list of intangible cultural heritage. It happened on Thursday evening with an emotional celebration. The celebration included Dominique Dupuy. He is the country’s ambassador-at-large. He was able to announce this news at home after years of hard work that finally came through.
Soup Joumou as national symbol
Since Haiti’s independence in 1804, Soup Joumou became the national symbol of liberation from slavery. Traditionally they eat it on the 1st of January. January 1st is the Caribbean country’s landmark holiday. Today we celebrate two weeks before Haïti Enslaved nation-hood with this great Joy.
This project is a great joy and a point of pride for the entire Haitian culture. This will further strengthen its influence throughout society. It recognizes how important this dish has been in shaping our identity as an independent nation.
It is not often that we see a dish from Haiti nominated by Unesco on compassionate grounds. Besides, it is a difficult period in history for Haiti. Incidentally, Jovenel Moise was assassinated. A 7 point magnitude earthquake hit them hard not too long ago. Thus, Unesco felt like it had to take notice of what these people have gone through.
The situation in Haiti as they celebrate this day in history
The United States, Canada, and several other countries have expressed solidarity with Haiti before this resolution was adopted. “You cannot leave our people to their fate,” said Brazil’s representative in an emotional plea while they were voting on the matter.
The soup is a symbol of Haiti’s rejection and fights against oppression. It also strengthens cultural identity. It encourages coexistence between different peoples. Also, it plays an important unifying role in society as well; generating belongingness among new generations through roots they can be proud to call their own.
As a final point, in 2020, the Unesco cultural heritage list was expanded to include 35 entries. One such entry is sauna culture in Finland which has been practiced since the 12th century Jotunheimen mountain area. Another one includes sourdough making on Maltese islands where they have been doing this activity for centuries despite foreign interference attempts during Knights’ occupation period (around 16th century).
Haitian Soup Joumou Ingredients
While we will not delve into the making of Haitian Soup Joumou in this blog post. We will however provide some of the ingredients that you can use to make Soup Joumou.
To make Soup Joumou you will need:
|Beef neck bones|
|Cabbage leaves, cut into pieces|
|Carrots, peel and cut|
|Celery, cut into pieces|
|Green pepper, slice thin|
|Leek stalk, sliced|
|Salt, Black Pepper to taste|
|Scotch Bonnet pepper, whole|
|Spaghetti or Macaroni|