African Diaspora: New Year's Eve Traditions


Réveillon is celebrated throughout the world including New Orleans in the United States. (Google Images)

In a photo gallery, Chantal Martineau of the Huffington Post shares different New Year’s Eve traditions that occur throughout the African Diaspora. Martineau highlights “Watch Night,” which began with prayers for freedom on New Year’s Eve by slaves who were typically auctioned off on New Year’s Day in the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean.  Black-eyed peas and collard greens (prosperity and good luck) are staples in African-American communities on New Year’s Eve. She also shares the story of Haiti’s Soup Joumou, a pumpkin soup once forbidden to slaves, which is made in honor of their independence hard fought and won in 1804. The Junkanoo, which is a carnival featuring bands and costumes that began with slaves having the day off on New Year’s Eve, takes place in the Bahamas. Réveillon happens worldwide including Brazil, where extravagant parties are hosted in celebration of the new awakening and attendees wear white to symbolize a fresh start.

The Junkanoo is New Year’s Eve tradition in the Bahamas. Celebrations are marked by music, dance, costumes and food as Bahamians highlight the coming of the New Year. During slavery, the Junkanoo was a celebration of having the day off. (Google Images)

However you choose to ring in the New Year, keep in mind that people throughout the African Diaspora will be participating in shared traditions marked by hope, peace and prosperity. The Burton Wire wishes you a happy and safe New Year.

View Martineau’s photo gallery of African Diasporic New Year’s Eve Traditions on Huffington Post.

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