January 1 – Independence Day in Haiti and Sudan

Posted on January 1, 2019

Old World, New World.

Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere.

Africa, Central America / Caribbean.

Above, location of Sudan.
Below, location of Haiti.

The nations of Sudan and Haiti are far flung globally and very different as far as their history and religions and traditions. But both celebrate their independence on New Year's Day.

Here are some point-by-point comparisons:

After the only successful slave revolt in history, Haiti proclaimed its independence of France way back in 1804.

Sudan had to wait for its independence from Britain until 1956.

Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America, the first independent nation after European colonization in the Caribbean, and the second republic in the Americas (the U.S. was the first). 

The land that is now Sudan has a long history of being part of powerful empires. The Kerma kingdom lasted a thousand years, from around 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE, in ancient Nubia. For a while there it was as large and populous as ancient Egypt, but later it became a part of the New Kingdom of Egypt. The Sudan region became independent of Egypt again when it became the Kingdom of Kush. Around 250 CE, Kush ruled over Egypt (!) - but after Kush fell, Nubians formed a series of Christian kingdoms. From the 14th Century on, more and more Muslim Arabs settled in Sudan. In modern times Sudan was ruled by Egypt and then the British Empire.  

The languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole.

The official languages of Sudan are Arabic and English, but there are 70 languages native to Sudan and more than 400 different languages and dialects!

The Haitian people are overwhelmingly black and Christian. A lot of Catholic Haitians also practice Vodou, a religion with African roots that was melded together with Catholic beliefs and practices.

About 70% of Sudanese people are Arabs, and there are many different non-Arabian ethnic groups. More than 97%
practice Islam.

Since independence, Sudan has struggled with political instability, civil war, corruption, economic stagnation, droughts, human rights violations, and poverty. 

Haiti has been hit in modern times by a horrific earthquake and several destructive hurricanes. It, too, has suffered from political strife, questionable elections, military coups, corruption, and poverty. 

One Independence Day tradition in Haiti is making and eating soup. The reason for this custom is that, when French people controlled Haiti, there was a law that only French people could eat soup - slaves weren't allowed to eat it. Naturally, all the black Haitians who had been denied soup for years decided to celebrate their independence by eating soup - and that custom still exists today.

I couldn't spot any description of how Sudan celebrates independence other than the general claim that there are "elaborate festivities" in the capital, Khartoum.

Also on this date:

New Year's Day (also here and here)

Plan ahead:

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