This holiday season I had the chance to attend many traditional festivities. One in particular that I was very excited to partake in was the Haitian Independence Anniversary and New Year’s Day Celebration at Ambassador Raymond Joseph’s home. I received an invitation from his wife, Ms. Lola Poisson- Joseph for this event and I had been looking forward to starting the New Year in this celebration ever since.

The hospitable couple opened their home in the traditional Haitian manner for this New Year’s Day event. As I entered the house I was quickly drawn to the various paintings and photographs displayed throughout their lovely home. Ms. Poissan is a very talented painter and photographer. She is the daughter of Louverture Poisson, a well-known Haitian painter. Her and her father’s paintings displayed in their home varied in theme and color: from community members participating in daily activities to vivid and colorful flowers. While I was enjoying the beautiful artwork, I was drawn to the lovely smells throughout the home.

The traditional Haitian Independence Day and New Year’s Day celebration included a delicious joumou soup (made from joumou, the delicious and aromatic pumpkin, which is a New Years and Independence tradition), a sweet potato dessert, Kremas (a coconut drink), and several other delicious treats. Once I tried some of these delicious traditional Haitian delights, I had a chance to speak with Ambassador Joseph who is delightful and gracious host. He explained to us that it is traditional in Haiti to visit the homes of friends, and share food on New Year’s Day. He even entertained guests with several melodies he played on the harmonica, including the Haitian national anthem. After the lively entertainment, I had a chance to speak with Ms. Poisson-Joseph who is a lovely hostess. She and I spoke about her artwork and photographs. Currently, she has a few pieces that are on display at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center from the exhibit Art, Love and Culture on the 2nd floor. The Center is located at 3900 Harewood Road, NE Washington, DC 20017.

This engaging event was definitely the highlight of my day. I had a chance to meet many interesting and fantastic individuals, as well as learn about another culture, and enjoy some wonderful food and hospitality. I am so honored that I had this opportunity to celebrate and share in the festivities, and hope to make this a new tradition.

Sanam Toossi is a native Washingtonian.  She enjoys blogging about events, organizations, and other interesting topics, which will be known as “Scene by Sanam”. Also, you can read her write-ups for Ask Miss A at  Follow her on Twitter @imsanamie. If you have an event you want her to cover email her at