Why Black People Eat Red Beans and Rice On Monday

plate of red beans and rice
Via Flickr
Adé Hennis
May 9, 2024

Maybe you relate to the song, “I don’t like Mondays,” but in Louisiana, Monday is the day for red beans and rice.  The spicy aroma of simmering beans fills kitchens across the state, evoking memories of the past.

Slow-cooked red beans and rice was an African tradition that Haitians brought to New Orleans after the revolution in 1804. And when this dish arrived in the Big Easy, our people used it to create a new tradition.

Since Monday was laundry day, working people had no time to cook. To save time, they used the leftover ham from Sunday dinner to flavor the red beans and rice while simmering them over the same coals used to warm the laundry water.

Ingrained in our culture, eating red beans and rice is both a way of filling our stomachs and of honoring a tradition inherited from our ancestors.

The tradition of red beans and rice built and strengthened connections within our community. It’s important to preserve our cultural traditions to keep our bonds to the Black diaspora strong.