How to celebrate Haitian Heritage Month in Miami

Women's only rara band to perform at the Haitian Book Fair as part of Miami's Haitian Heritage Month itinerary.

Get ready to see the flags waving, the music blaring, and the celebrations. It’s Haitian Heritage Month and the Haitian diaspora across South Florida will be celebrating all month long, and rightfully so. As the first free independent Black Republic in the world, Haitians proudly celebrate in remembrance of revolutionary heroes like Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines and the significant contributions Haiti has made to world history.

Between more than a dozen events at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, celebrations hosted by the City of North Miami, musical performances and concerts and art exhibitions, there’s plenty to choose from in this month’s celebratory lineup. Even if you don’t bleed red and blue, you don’t have to be Haitian to appreciate griot, the rhythms of compas music, and a vibrant culture. And everyone has a little ‘Sak pase’ in them.

Read More: Haitian Heritage Month Playlist: 10 konpa songs everyone should hear

1. Ayiti Images Presents "Toussaint Louverture"

Ayiti Images showcases the screening of a film on Toussaint Louverture, who went from slave to Haiti’s revolutionary hero.

6:30-11 p.m. Friday, May 5 at O Cinema, 9806 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores; Tickets are $16 and available at lacc.fiu.edu/events/2017/ayiti-images-presents-toussaint-louverture/

9806 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores

2. Haitian Heritage Month Exhibition Opening Ceremony

The Haitian Heritage Museum and the City of North Miami Beach present an opening ceremony for the exhibition, “Toussaint – A Man, A Destiny & A Story.” The exhibition shows the path set by Toussaint who escaped from the chains of slavery to lead Haiti’s revolt as the first Black, independent, and free nation. Free and open to the public.

6-9 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the North Miami Beach Library, 1601 NE 164th St., North Miami Beach

1601 NE 164th St., North Miami Beach

3. Ayisyen Mwen Ye Art Exhibit

The exhibition features works by new and seasoned Haitian-American artists and runs through June 30. The exhibition is free and open to the community.

10 a.m. Friday, May 5 at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 260 NE 59th Terr, Miami

260 NE 59th Terr, Miami

4. Tour of Little Haiti - Taste the Culture

Explore the cultural fabric of Little Haiti in this walking tour.

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at the Caribbean Marketplace, 5925 NE 2nd Ave, Miami

5925 NE 2nd Ave, Miami

5. 8th Annual Zakafest

This annual festival celebrates Haitian roots, folklore music, and culture through performances and live music. Arts and culture workshops are from 1-4 p.m. and live performances from 4-11 p.m. Free, family-friendly event open to the community.

1-11 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr, Miami

212 NE 59th Terr, Miami

6. Little Haiti Soccer Cup Tournament

The tournament is presented by City of Miami Chairman Keon Hardemon.

4 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at Little Haiti Soccer Park, 6301 NE 2nd Ave., Miami

6301 NE 2nd Ave., Miami

7. Art Exhibition Opening of “Through the Eyes of the Malfini”

The exhibition features the works of photographer Conrad Schutt.

6-8 p.m. Friday, May 12 at the North Miami Public Library, 835 NE 132nd St, North Miami

835 NE 132nd St, North Miami

8. Spice it Up Miami

The second edition of the new monthly foodie event every second Friday features Chef Creole. Enjoy a cultural experience of cooking demonstrations, cocktails prepared by mixologists, music, and dancing.

7-10 p.m. Friday, May 12 at the Caribbean Marketplace, 5925 NE 2nd Ave., Miami; Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at eventbrite.com

5925 NE 2nd Ave., Miami

9. Triumph of the Spirit gala

Sant La celebrates seventeen years of serving the Haitian community with its annual fundraising gala featuring a cocktail reception, dinner, a celebration of local humanitarians, and music.

7 p.m.-midnight Friday, May 12 at the Hard Rock Stadium Hyundai Club, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; Tickets are $125 per person and available at eventbrite.com

347 Don Shula Dr, Miami Gardens

10. Taste of Haiti

The 5th annual food festival showcasing Haitian gastronomy returns. Enjoy Haitian cuisine by food vendors, a Top Chef Cook-Off, VIP Tasting Tent, music and dancing, and a celebration of culture. Free and open to the community.

3-10 p.m. Saturday, May 13 at Miami Dade College North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave., North Miami

11380 NW 27th Ave., North Miami

11. Haitian Flag Day celebrations

Enjoy a number of Flag Day celebrations around town on May 18.

  • 5-8 p.m. – Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Plaza, 770 NE 125th St, North Miami
    The City of North Miami presents a Flag Day celebration with performances by Rara Lakay, a Kompa band, and a comedy show by the popular comedy group, Haitian-American Productions.
  • 5PM – Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr, Miami
  • 7:30-10 p.m. – Notre Dame D’Haiti, 130 NE 62nd Street

5PM – 8PM – Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Plaza, 770 NE 125th St, North Miami
The City of North Miami presents a Flag Day celebration with performances by Rara Lakay, a Kompa band, and a comedy show by the popular comedy group, Haitian-American Productions.

5PM – Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr, Miami

7:30PM – 10PM – Notre Dame D’Haiti, 130 NE 62nd Street

12. "Liberty in a Soup" screening

PAMM joins the Haitian Heritage Month festivities with a screening of the compelling documentary by filmmaker Dudley Alexis. “Liberty in a Soup” explores the origin of Soup Joumou that Haitian’s worldwide celebrate in remembrance of the Haitian Revolution and Haiti’s Independence Day on Jan 1. Following the screening is a live performance by the 11-piece all-girl rara band, Symbol Roots.

  • Nearby

7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; Admission for the screening is $16 and also includes admission to the museum.

1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami

13. Miami Carnival: Sounds of Little Haiti

The Broward Miami Carnival celebrates Haitian Heritage Month with a special edition of Sounds of Little Haiti featuring a fashion show and display of carnival costumes and performances by the carnival Mas Band, Tichapo. Free and open to the community.

6-10 p.m. Friday, May 19 at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami

212 NE 59th Terr, Miami

14. 19th Annual Haitian Compas Festival

This annual musical fete features two days of some of the biggest names in Haitian music, including Harmonik, T-Vice, Sweet Mickey, and more.

  • Nearby

3 p.m. until close Saturday, May 20 & Sunday, May 21 at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Downtown Miami; Tickets start at $42 and are available at eventbrite.com/e/the-19th-annual-haitian-compas-festival-tickets-31882891587.

301 Biscayne Blvd., Downtown Miami

15. Haitian Heritage Month Closing Celebration

The month-long festivities come to an end with a number of celebrations to check out.

  • City of North Miami closing party
    6-10 p.m. Friday, May 26 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Plaza, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami

The City of North Miami closes out the month with a special edition of Jazz at MOCA featuring live music by the Haitian Jazz Roots Project.

  • Fete Little Haiti: Closing Reception
    6-9 p.m.  Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59 Terr

Following the reception is “Lakay se Lakay” from 8-10 p.m. presented by Poetic Lakay.

City of North Miami closing party
6PM – 10PM – Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Plaza, 770 NE 125th St, North Miami

The City of North Miami closes out the month with a special edition of Jazz at MOCA featuring live music by the Haitian Jazz Roots Project.

Fete Little Haiti: Closing Reception
6PM – 9PM Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59 Terr
Following the reception is “Lakay se Lakay” from 8pm – 10pm presented by Poetic Lakay.

16. Little Haiti Book Festival

Miami Book Fair and Sosyete Koukouy of Miami with Little Haiti’s literary giant, Jean Mapou, presents two days of vibrant cultural exposure to writers, booksellers, and performers from the diaspora. The weekend event includes a series of panel discussions, creative writing workshops, hands-on activities for children, film screenings, dance and music performances and more. Whether you’re Haitian or not, there’s an event at the festival that will appeal to you.

Saturday-Sunday, May 27-28
Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 260 NE 59th Terr and along NE 2nd Avenue

Events:

Saturday, May 27

6 p.m. – Creative Cocktail Hour
Keynotes by Marie-Alice Théard, founder of Festival Arts in Pétion-Ville, Haiti, and historian Jean-Claude Exulien, founder of the National Theater of Haiti. Also enjoy cocktails, music, and dance performances.

8 p.m. – Haitian Literature: Resilience & Sustenance
Conversation with the authors

Sunday, May 28

Noon – Literati Natif Nataf
An discussion on modern Haitian literature.

Noon – Kids Writing workshop & Bookmaking

2 p.m. – Haiti: Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery
A discussion on the economic and emotional aspects of modern slavery of Haiti.

2 p.m. – Creative writing workshop

2 p.m. – “On the Verge of a Fever” film screening presented by Ayiti Images

4 p.m. – Race & Identity: The Diaspora Divide
A discussion on the strained relationship between Caribbean-Americans and African-Americans in South Florida.

4 p.m. – Haitian folk dance performances

All Day – Kids Art Making Studio

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