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Haitian Culture Practices and Beliefs

The culture of Haiti has synthesized many cultural elements, including European and African that have been developed in one single tradition. In the past, there was a French colony, which brought their Catholic culture to Haiti. However, the culture of Haiti is distinguished among others with its type of family, aging, temperament, and spirituality, which were especially influenced by the Africans.

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Most Haitians do not attach great importance to family life, and it does not matter to what social class they belong. Middle-class Haitians live in urban areas and celebrate the official family values, similar to modern values, but the lower class family belongs to plasaj (Main, 2012). They live in a more informal, extended family environment. Most solutions with health issues the older family members make according to the age hierarchy. If there are two parent families, the solution is provided according to gender criteria. However, a mother decides basic solutions, because she is often responsible for family welfare. Women often work outside the home but they also care about children. That is the nature of family life which makes the emotional content of the Haitian culture.

At the heart of a family, spiritual order is a system of training children by Haitians, particularly in the private sector. Haitians train not only to protect their family but also to take care of the elders. Respect for older family members is particularly relevant for Haitians spiritual culture, which also contributed to medical care. The older people live in families for a very long period, even if they are seriously ill (Main, 2012). Therefore, children should take care of their parents both financially and spiritually. As Main (2012) mentioned, traditional family members live together on a common rural territory. It leads to close communication between family members, affecting further the nature of Haitian culture. Nevertheless, such spiritual closeness fades in the big city.

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Haitian spiritual practice is a syncretic complex of African and Catholic beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies (Alvarado, 2011, p. 27). Spiritual Haitian culture is most pronounced in the voodoo practices. However, the voodoo performers continue to be a part of the Catholic community, so this is a real example how Haitian culture have synthesized both European and African spiritual traditions. Voodoo is a very important part of Haitian traditional culture because it reflects the spiritual foundations of people in certain social practices, moral codes, and special forms of communication with the ancestors through rituals.

Haitian relationships are based on bilateral association. Everyone from this community has equal rights. Kinship organization differs from the industrial world in connection with the ancestors, so this community is rather a religious group than social. Families are given ritual attention of a large subset of people who serve the lwa (Tarter, 2015, p. 95). They are convinced that all of them have certain obligations in order to affect both on the life of living and the dead, though within certain rules. In these practices, trees take a special role because they contain both spirits and ancestors (Tarter, 2015, p. 89). The percentage of those who serve the family is obviously unknown but probably high. Indeed, though it is assumed that about half of the populations of Haiti practices voodoo to some extent but mostly they are reflected in popular music (Levitan, 2014).

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Thus, family plays a special role in Haitian culture. Family values take first place, and then Haitians care about other duties. When one family member is sick, others help him, including women who care for the house and the children. However, older family members always take the main decisions. Haitian religious practices are particularly reflected in voodoo that united both African and Catholic spiritual traditions. Voodoo has influenced the formation of unconventional therapies, including obsession, madness, and black spell.

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