haitains

Fete Gede is the Haitian religious version of Day of the Dead. Voodoo rituals during Gede festival take mainly place in the beginning of November.

Haiti, one of world’s poorest country, and with fresh in our memory country’s latest destructive earthquake in 2010 when an estimate of 220,000 people were killed. But Haitians don’t give up and walk through life as good and as bad as it comes.

On 2 November the Gede festival is mainly concentrated around the main cemetery of country’s capital Port-au-Prince. In a scene of rituals the Haitian people honour the dead and the father of them all, Baron Samedi. People dressed in black, purple or white clothes dance wild, play music and drink alcohol. Some of them are believed to be possessed by the spirits.

At the day of the festival of Gede, the Haitians move for one moment in happiness.

Voodoo: Honoring the lwa/loa

anonymous said: How many times should you honor the lwa, once a week or everyday ?

On a personal level, is important to note that the lwa/loa are considered sentient beings with whom you interact in order to derive benefit in your life. When you need a favor from a friend, they are going to be more likely to respond to you and your needs if you have maintained a good relationship with them, right? If you have two friends and one of them you haven’t spoken to for a year, you may be a little self conscious about asking them to help you out of the blue. So when it comes to your relationship with these beings, there isn’t a set schedule just like how you typically don’t delegate your friendships to a set schedule. So for some people, tribute to and honor of the lwa is an everyday thing. Others pay tribute to the lwa less so often. If someone is in deliberate service to the lwa, like they are a mambo / houngan, they will serve and honor them every single day, sometimes to the point where they cannot maintain a separate job. Their status as a priest is their career instead.

Each spirit has its own likes and dislikes and therefore unique ways of propitiating it in order to be in your favor. Some of these things are very popularly known. For example, Legba likes red palm oil and Yemaya likes very sweet objects like syrup. Other beings are not as exhaustively documented, so if you cannot find out what specific way a specific spirit you want to write about should be bartered with, you will want to look at the category of this spirit in order to take some artistic license. This category is called a nanchon, or nation. For example, spirits whose bailiwick is death, like the very popular Baron Samedi, belong to the Gede/guede/ghede nanchon. These spirits like to be offered things like whiskey and hot peppers.

On a community level, like when does the priest gather everybody around or are there holidays, the frequency of ceremonies depends on the calendar of the local community. You can pretty much say, we do this once a week or we do this once a month, I really don’t think anybody is going to have issue with your story-telling decisions of how devout or liberal your characters are. However you will want to pay attention to feast days if your story does focus on a given spirit. Whether or not you want your narrative to show a feast day is your own decision but here is something for you to learn about.

Feast days are the dates associated with Catholic saints. Of the more majorly known lwa, many are syncretized with Catholic saints. For instance, Legba is associated with Saint Lazarus, as in the beggar, and he is honored on Saint Lazarus’s feast day June 21st.

Lastly every single person has a thing called a lwa met tet which westerners can think of as a guardian angel. Not everyone knows who their guardian is, but they still have one. Of those who do know, they may choose to set aside a special day to honor their guardian. This is not an everyday or weekly thing. Some do it in the name of maintaining a healthy relationship with them, and others do it because they believe that their guardian must be energized with this tribute so that they are fit to protect them.

- Miss Elaney

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