Some of the most representative customs of the Haitian culture are Voodoo religion and the Carnival. Due to its colonial history, the customs of Haiti draw from a mixture of influences, including Spanish, French, African and Caribbean cultures. Elements from the native Taino population also influence the cultural customs of Haiti.
A well-known example of a Haitian cultural tradition is the Voodoo religion. Voodoo is a unique mixture of indigenous Taino beliefs, Christianity and African religious beliefs. According to Voodoo, a group of spirits known as the Loa are in charge of the universe. Voodoo priests and priestesses perform outdoor rituals and ceremonies as a means of communication with these spirits in order to receive guidance, heal the sick or honor ancestors who have died.
Another important aspect of Haitian customs is Carnival, a national celebration that takes place every February. Similar to the Mardi Gras festival of New Orleans, the Carnival festival features exuberant parades, live music, dancing in the streets and all night celebrations. Another festival native to Haiti is Rara festival, a peasant celebration.
The distinctive culture of Haiti is also evident in the country's cuisine. Haitian food features a mixture of French and Caribbean cuisines, due to the French colonization of Haiti as well as the tropical geography of the country, which allows for the cultivation of fruits such as mangoes, coconuts and pineapples.