Discovery Day is celebrated on December 5 of each year in Haiti to honour the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival on the island in 1492. The holiday is known as Fête de la Découverte. Numerous nations celebrate this date as a national holiday, but Haiti and the Dominican Republic place a particular emphasis on the event.
Naturally, as the years have passed and the times have changed, so has the way it has been framed. Despite this, the day is still observed in Haiti since it was an obviously significant event that played a role in the country’s history. Discovery Day is the event that planted the seeds for a unified Haitian identity as well as a fierce collective resolve. Celebrations are held in the nation on a yearly basis, and they consist of vibrant performances, street festivals, and feasting.
Discovery Day is celebrated annually on December 5, which commemorates the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island of Hispaniola at what is now Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti. Today, the island is divided between two countries: Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both of which acknowledge the holiday as a national holiday.
Christopher Columbus Arrival
The Taino native populations inhabited a sizable island in the Caribbean Sea around the 15th century. This island was known as “Ayiti,” which means “mountainous land.” They had lived on this island for millennia, but when Christopher Columbus arrived in December 1492, their entire way of life was irreversibly altered.
The Italian explorer, who had the support of the Spanish monarchs, was en route to Asia when he accidentally discovered the New World. The Taino population saw a sharp decline as a result of colonialism and persecution after the Spaniards arrived on the Caribbean islands. Columbus gave the island a new name, “La Isla Espaola,” which was later abbreviated to “Espaola.”
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Foundation of Haiti
By 1664, Spain and France, who had both started colonising the area, were engaged in territorial disputes. Saint-Domingue was established as a colony by France in the western region of the island. The two nations formally partitioned the island into two after many fights. So, the west belonged to France, and the rest was ruled by Spain. Even the name of the island, Hispaniola, has been Latinized. In official documents as well as historical accounts, it eventually became customary to refer to the entire island as Hispaniola.
Free people of colour residing in French-occupied “Hispaniola” fought the French when the French Revolution began in 1784. Despite coming up against the strength of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, the people prevailed. The country of Haiti was founded on January 1st, 1804. It was the first independent country in the Caribbean and, after the United States, the second republic in the New World. The revolutionary hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines gave the new nation the name Haiti in remembrance of the indigenous inhabitants of the island.
Why the Discovery Day Celebrated?
All about Haiti
Today is a day to celebrate all things Haitian. The headlines concerning natural calamities only scratch the surface of what the country has to offer.
A tribute to enduring legacies
Even though it has associations with colonialism, it represents an important turning point in Haitian history. This event was the starting point for what would become the only successful slave uprising in the history of the world.
Discovery Day is a celebration that honours the millions of indigenous people who battled against European colonisation. It serves as a reminder of who came first. I pray that their bravery and the stories they shared are never forgotten.
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Interesting Facts About Haiti
It has a large number of mountains.
The spectacular mountain peaks in Haiti reach heights of up to 8,000 feet, and the country itself is the most mountainous in the Caribbean.
It was one of the first countries to…
The Haitian Revolution was the first successful uprising to abolish slavery and the only one in history to be led by people who had been enslaved at the time.
Voodoo is central
Voodoo is recognised as a legal religion in Haiti, the only nation in the world to do so.
There are drawings on cave walls.
Paintings created by the Taino people can be seen in caves all across Haiti and are regarded to be national emblems.
Haiti runs on tourism
The tourist sector in Haiti is responsible for about 200 million dollars in annual revenue for the government of Haiti.
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Other Discovery Days
On October 12, the Bahamas observed Discovery Day, a public holiday honouring Christopher Columbus’ landing in the New World in 1492. Many other American nations were also celebrating Columbus Day at the same time. In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall on the then-unknown island of Guanahani in the Bahamas.
Every year on April 22th, Discovery Day is honoured in Brazil. This day honours Pedro lvares Cabral, who arrived in Brazil for the first time as a European in 1500. (although this discovery is contested by some). On the third Monday in August, Yukon celebrates Finding Day as a public holiday to mark the anniversary of the discovery of gold in 1896, which sparked the Klondike Gold Rush.
It is celebrated in Newfoundland and Labrador on the Monday closest to June 24 and honours John Cabot’s 1497 discovery of the island. The name of the holiday would be modified after consulting with Indigenous communities in the province, it was revealed in June 2020. The expedition led by Magellan anchored in Umatac Bay on March 6, 1521.
In the Cayman Islands, Discovery Day honours Christopher Columbus’ 1503 discovery of the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The third Monday in May is observed as a public holiday. An official holiday is observed on November 19, the anniversary of Columbus’ arrival on the island in 1493. Contrary to Columbus Day, which is observed on the second Monday of October in the United States and Puerto Rico
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