Yep, you read that correctly! Weird right? But hear me out as I lay out the context (quick history lesson)
It all started with Toussaint L'Ouverture, a self educated former slave. After England and Spain invaded Haiti (then called Saint-Domingue and 100% controlled by the French), he made a pact with France to fight the Spaniards and British off the island. The man was a military genius. He managed to train an ALL-slave army, expelled the invading forces and gave control back to France. The slaves were freed.
Toussaint went on to issue Haiti's 1st constitution in 1801. The French weren't having it so Napoléon Bonaparte sent a large expeditionary force to restore French rule. Toussaint was promised his freedom but was deceived. He was seized by the French and shipped to France. He died imprisoned at Fort-de-Joux. His famous last words: "En me renversant, ils n'ont abattu que le tronc de l'arbre de la liberté. Il repoussera par les racines car elles sont profondes et nombreuses." (They've only felled the trunk of the tree of freedom. It will regrow because its roots are numerous and deep).
When it became clear to all Haitians that the French were bent on re-establishing slavery, the revolution erupted. From 1801 to 1803, battle after battle was fought. On November 18, 1803, the last of the French forces were defeated and on January 1st, 1804, exactly two hundred and seven years ago, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti a free republic. The first black-led nation in the world and the only country whose independence stemmed from a successful slave rebellion.
What does that have to do with pumpkin soup? Everything!!! All throughout their reign of terror, the French forbade all Haitians from drinking pumpkin soup. It was considered a delicacy far too sophisticated for the palate of slaves. Therefore as a symbol of freedom, all Haitians, no matter where we are on the planet, drink pumpkin soup (soup joumou) every January first since 1804.
It's a day the whole world should remember and celebrate. The best and most authentic recipe is below. Enjoy and Happy Haitian Independence Day!!!