Spirituality of the Haitian people

In this season of religious observances, I thought it appropriate to consider the strong faith of the Haitian people. Haitians are a very spiritual people, with 80% of the population reported to be Roman Catholic, 16% Protestant, and ~ 50% practicing voodoo. Theirs is an open faith, with public prayer and singing a common sight.

While working in the pediatric ward of University Hospital, I observed spontaneous prayer among the parents, right in the middle of the day. At one point, I realized that all of the parents were facing the center of the tent and praying in unison. In the tent camps, hymns were often heard throughout the day and night.

One mother of a very sick baby in the pediatric ward was in continual prayer, singing and raising her hands to heaven.

Reports tell of Haitians gathering in front of their churches, many of which are only piles of rubble, to pray and worship together.

Remarkably, in early February, the President of Haiti cancelled the traditional Mardi Gras throughout the country, and instead called for three days of prayer and fasting to mark the one month anniversary of the earthquake. People turned out by the hundreds and thousands, in Port au Prince as well as in the countryside and smaller villages, to pray.

The video posted here gives a good idea of the scope of the days of prayer and fasting in Port au Prince in February. There is some helpful commentary in the beginning; towards the end, the commentary is more preachy than I would like. Still, it is the most well done of the many YouTube postings on this remarkable event in Haiti.

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