nigerian traditions

DOOMFIST

Doomfist is Nigerian and before you guys go crazy I just want to say a few things.
- There’s A LOT of tribes in Nigeria so just doing a small google search about Nigerian traditions, etc. will not be very fruitful. According to my wonderful mom, Akande is Yoruba (a tribe in west nigeria).
- For all you writers out there the language has the same name. Yoruba. Nigerian tribes as have completely different languages. (For example, I can understand Edo which is another tribe. If you try to talk to me in Yoruba I will have no idea what you are saying.) 
- Let’s try not to slap a bunch of western stereotypes on him? Nigerians (and Africans in general) don’t talk like savages. His grammar should be completely correct, especially since he comes from a wealthy family. Don’t try and bring random animals into his life. (Ex. He fought a lion with his bare hands or something stupid.)
- Africa is not on another planet. Please don’t act like he’s alien to technology, or western things. He obviously knows what a smart phone and social media is.
- LAST THING: He’s being characterised as smart and charismatic! Don’t make him into a brainless, hothead who like punching things.
Thankssssss!

9

Maki Oh, SS18

CHANGE YOUR STYLE, ANOTHER ONE

Maki Oh returns to childhood in 1995 Lagos, where the privilege of youth washed out the sound of harder times. In recognition of ones impotence in the difficult times in which we find ourselves today, exuberance is favoured over apathy as a form of rebellion. The collection reflects the colour, pragmatism and the effervescence of a Lagosian childhood…games like Ayo, Change Your Style, and those improvised in the classroom: notes passed under desks and cheeky words spelt on calculator screens by inverting them - 58008. The uniform of birthday parties, festive occasions and Sunday dress which were referred to as ‘Aunty Give Me Cake Dresses’ are marked in the collection with bulky, layered tulle in blush pinks and nudes. Whilst the unbridled sense of freedom in playing dress up in parents’ closets are present in oversized silhouettes and light wool blend suiting. Traditional Nigerian dying technique adiré features lines from ‘suwe’- a hopscotch type game often marked out with a stick and played in sand. As well as stars and crescent shapes inspired by Tales By Moonlight - a show aired on national television in the 90’s that featured didactic fables told to groups of children by an elder under a mango tree.

Valentine’s Day Shorts

Hers a list of headcannon type things of what the Sidemen + others would do with their significant other’s on Valentine’s Day. Hope you enjoy!

Originally posted by meowkisu


Miniminter

  • Takes you out to a nice restaurant
  • Triple checked that the reservations were set
  • When you get to the restaurant the person working at the front knows him because he called so many times
  • Pulls your chair out for you and is super gentlemanly

Tbjzl

  • Tells you you’re going out to a restaurant
  • Surprises you and makes a homemade traditional Nigerian dinner
  • The boys have left the flat so it’s just you and him
  • Candle lit
  • Flowers
  • Really nice conversation about several topics

KSI

  • Is really nervous when he first asks you out
  • Takes you to a nice restaurant
  • Takes you back home and you snuggle in comfy clothes
  • Watch some Netflix

Zerkaa

  • Decorated the house for you
  • Hid little sticky notes around the house saying nice things
  • Was really lovey-dovey all day

Behzinga

  • Takes you out on a lunch date
  • Since it was less crowded you could have a better conversation
  • Laughed a lot
  • Was overall just a really nice meal
  • Hung out the rest of the day

Vikkstar

  • Stayed up all night writing down reasons why you love each other
  • Put the strips of paper in a wooden box
  • Put the wooden box in the back of a closet so you can find it some day after you forgot about it

Wroetoshaw

  • Harry made reservations but they ended up being canceled, to his dismay
  • End up settling for takeout
  • Played FIFA and made bets and forfeits
  • It might not have been a “traditional” Valentine’s date but you couldn’t have asked to spend it any other way

Lewis Redman

  • Decorated your bedroom with balloons
  • Brought you breakfast
  • Spent all day in bed watching movies and TV shows
  • The only time either of you got out of bed was to go get more food

ChrisMD

  • You two had a day trip up to the Lake District and had the cabin to yourselves
  • Kicked a football around some on the fields
  • Found a way to get up onto the roof of the cabin at night to look up at the stars

Calfreezy

  • Spent the day out walking around London shopping and eating
  • Bought each other gifts
  • Went to a park to see the sunset and look out at the stars
  • He gave his coat to you when he saw you shivering

Callux

  • You started to teach him how to play piano
  • It was full of him apologizing for getting frustrated
  • He gave up in the end
  • You made a compromise where you would play piano and he would sing
  • Sometimes he would sing horribly on purpose just to make you laugh

FifaManny

  • He invites you over for dinner
  • You get there but Manny isn’t home
  • Instead you find a riddle that starts you on a scavenger hunt
  • You finally catch up to Manny who’s setting up dinner at the start on the back porch 

anonymous asked:

headcanons about Day Court?

I have so many head canons oh my lord. I’ve done so much world building for the Day Court you guys would be proud of me. I’m just going to start talking, honestly, so it’s not really in any order. 

Deserts. Day Court is mostly deserts, but they do have cities and small towns scattered everywhere. I head canon about three major cities (one where Helion lives, and then the other two), and then smaller towns and communities everywhere else. I also see rivers and lakes but not a lot. If you look up different Africa small houses and huts (is it not canon that Day Court is African inspired? It is now. This is Renanon) that’s what I picture for the Day Court towns and communities and such like that. 

For the large cities, palaces and buildings made of sunstone (looked it up. It’s actually a thing) and glass. And I think Day Court would have a few gardens. But Helion (and his wife/mate/High Lady, quote me on it) live in the main palace,  which is larger than the other two in the other two cities. There are royal families in the other two major cities. 

While we’re talking about the royal families I do have clothes in mind. Togas are only for formal events (dinners, meetings, etc.), but normally Day Court Fae wear traditional Ethiopian/Nigerian/Kenyan garbs (my mother’s family originates from Kenya and Ethiopia and one of my friends is Nigerian). 

Example: 

But when it comes to the High Lady and/or princesses and queens they would wear something like this: 

For the ones who live out in the desert, they wear more covering clothing to protect them from the sand and sun. Which could include turbans and other headpieces. 

Headpieces for the royal families/people living in the big cities would look like this:

There is also body paint, which would be worn at any sort of celebration or traditional dinners or meetings like the High Lord Meeting in ACOWAR. Helion would typically wear it as well his wife, which he 100% has, and his Council. Anyone else can wear it too, it’s all about their traditions (again look up Ethiopian, Nigerian, and Kenyan. West African for a broader search)

Cuisine wise it’s best if you look up Ethiopian, Nigerian, and Kenyan dishes. Because I can go on for a while. Everyone do yourselves a favor and try some of these foods they are SO GOOD but that’s not the point of this post. I can’t go off about all the different dishes, but looking them up is a very fun experience so I would go for it! Have fun. Just don’t do it while hungry. 

For festive events right now I have two in mind. Which is the Day Court equivalents of Starfall and Calanmai. I don’t really have names for them yet but the Starfall equivalent is the day where it’s the hottest and the sun doesn’t go away, even at night, and it’s a cause for celebration as well. Everyone in Day Court celebrates this day, no work, no jobs, it’s a day off. And it’s a symbol of hope to them because the sun will always shine, no matter what. And then the Calanmai equivalent is a day where Helion’s magic gets stronger. I don’t really know how to explain this since I’m still working on this in… something (hint: its Helion centric) I’m writing but it’s also the day Helion was crowned High Lord and it’s been on that day ever since. 

There’s also the equivalent (but not really) to the Spring Court Tithe. Which is where the smaller towns and communities and the big cities do an exchange. Money for food and crops and other goods. It keeps their economy pretty equal and well balanced and everyone is fed and has a good life. 

When it comes to weapons Day Court mostly uses spears, but they do have swords and long blades and all of those other things. But the guards and most soldiers first weapon of choice would be a spear and maybe a bow and arrow depending on the person. 

When it comes to powers Day Court powers mostly include the sun and the sand. Do with that as you will. 

I think that’s about all my headcanons that I can really remember on the top of my head. When I finally finish writing what I have planned (yes I have like a thousand things planned and no time to actually do them) you guys will get a pretty good look at the Day Court. I am very proud of the world building I have done. 

6

Militia

A group of Nigerian traditional hunters and vigilantes gather on vehicles on their way to engage Boko Haram militants in Mubi from Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria 28 November 2014. The hunters have being assisting the Nigerian military in their fight against the Islamic insurgents, Boko Haram. According to residents at least 35 people, including five soldiers, were killed by an explosion near a military checkpoint in Mubi north-eastern Nigeria on 27 November 2014. (EPA/STR)

anonymous asked:

are you gonna make a post about your vacation? i'd rly rly love to hear more about it!!

Maybe! I’m just very self conscious about talking about my family, though I will talk about this:

We spent 5 days having a traditional Nigerian burial ceremony for my dead grandfather.

To make it quick, he was assassinated 50 years ago and was a big deal in the community, but my grandma/his wife refused to do a proper burial ceremony bc not only was her husband killed but her brother as well.

I’ve never been to one before and it was a mixture of wonderful and horrifying. The horrifying aspect was the fact that there were masquerades roaming the streets (search up Nigerian masquerades if you want to know more abt them) which isn’t uncommon but still freaky. I have videos of them.

It was really amazing and beautiful and I really got emotional over it, my grandfather pretty much shaped and helped various communities, villages and family.

It was cool to experience it.

3

Haitian Vodou

Haitian Vodou, called Sevis Gineh or “African Service”, is the primary culture and religion of the approximately 7 million people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. It has its primary roots among the Fon-Ewe peoples of West Africa, in the country now known as Benin, formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey. It also has strong elements from the Ibo and Kongo peoples of Central Africa and the Yoruba of Nigeria, though many different peoples or “nations” of Africa have representation in the liturgy of the Sevis Gineh, as do the Taino Indians, the original peoples of the island we now know as Hispaniola. Haitian Vodou exists in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, parts of Cuba, the United States, France, Montreal, and other places that Haitian immigrants have dispersed to over the years.

Other New World traditions it is closely related to or bears resemblance to include Jeje Vodun in Brazil, La Regla Arara in Cuba, and the Black Spiritualist Christian churches of New Orleans. Haitian Vodou also bears superficial resemblances in many ways with the Nigerian Yoruba-derived traditions of Orisha service, represented by La Regla de Ocha or Lukumi, aka “Santeria”, in Cuba, the United States, and Puerto Rico as well as Candomble in Brazil. While popularly thought of as related to Haitian Vodou, what is commonly referred to as “voodoo” in New Orleans and the southern US is a variant of the word “hoodoo”, also called “rootwork” or “root doctoring”. This is a folk magical tradition from Central Africa in the Congo region in which roots, leaves, minerals, and the spirits of the dead are employed to improve the lot of the living, often including the reciting of Psalms and other Biblical prayers. Rootwork also incorporates Native American herb lore and European and Jewish magical traditions. As a folk magic tradition, New Orleans “voodoo” and southern “hoodoo” rootwork are distinct from the RELIGION of Haitian Vodou and its siblings and cousins.

Haitian Voodoo History

Vodou as we know it in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora today is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispaniola during the transatlantic African slave trade. (1) Under slavery, African culture and religion was suppressed, lineages were fragmented, and people pooled their religious knowledge and out of this fragmentation became culturally unified. In addition to combining the spirits of many different African and Indian nations, pieces of Roman Catholic liturgy are incorporated to replace lost prayers or elements; in addition images of Catholic saints are used to represent various spirits or “misteh” [“mysteries”], and many saints themselves are honored in Haitian Vodou in their own right. This syncretism allows Haitian Vodou to encompass the African, the Indian, and the European ancestors in a whole and complete way. It is truly a “Kreyol” or Creole religion.

The most historically important Vodou ceremony in Haitian history was the Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman) ceremony of August 1791 near the city of Cap Haitien that began the Haitian Revolution, led by the Vodou priest named Boukman. During this ceremony the spirit Ezili Dantor came and received a black pig as an offering, and all those present pledged themselves to the fight for freedom. This ceremony ultimately resulted in the liberation of the Haitian people from their French masters in 1804, and the establishment of the first and only black people’s republic in the Western Hemisphere, the first such republic in the history of the world. (2)
Haitian Vodou came to the US to a significant degree beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the waves of Haitian immigrants under the oppressive Duvalier regime, taking root in Miami, New York City, Chicago, and other cities mainly on the two coasts.

Core Beliefs of Haitian Vodou

Vodouisants believe, in accordance with widespread African tradition, that there is one God who is the creator of all, referred to as “Bondje”, from the French words “Bon Dieu” or “Good God”. Bondje is distant from his/her/its creation though, and so it is the spirits or the “mysteries”, “saints”, or “angels” that the Vodouisant turns to for help, as well as to the ancestors. The Vodouisant worships God, and serves the spirits, who are treated with honor and respect as elder members of a household might be. There are said to be twenty-one nations or “nanchons” of spirits, also sometimes called “lwa-yo”. Some of the more important nations of lwa are the Rada (from Allada in Dahomey), the Nago (from Yorubaland), and the Kongo. The spirits also come in “families” that all share a surname, like Ogou, or Ezili, or Azaka or Gede. For instance, “Ezili” is a family, Ezili Danto and Ezili Freda are two individual spirits in that family.
In Vodou, spirits are divided according to their nature in roughly two categories, whether they are hot or cool. Cool spirits fall under the Rada category, and hot spirits fall under the Petwo category. Rada spirits are familial and mostly come from Africa, Petwo spirits are mostly native to Haiti and are more demanding and require more attention to detail than the Rada, but both can be dangerous if angry or upset. Neither is “good” or “evil” in relation to the other.

Everyone has spirits, and each person has a special relationship with one particular spirit who is said to “own their head”, however each person may have many lwa, and the one that owns their head, or the “met tet”, may or may not be the most active spirit in a person’s life.

The lwa are all said to live in a city beneath the sea called Ile Ife or Vilokan. Except for Agwe and his escort, who live in a different city below the waters.

Pantheon in Haitian Vodou

All of the lwa of Haiti are initiated manbos and houngans. Many are also Masons. Some of the more important spirits are as follows.

RADA Pantheon in Haitian Vodou

Papa Legba Atibon – He is imaged as an old man, St. Lazarus is used to represent him in the hounfo or temple. He opens the gate to the spirits, and translates between human languages and the languages of the spirits.
Marasa Dosu Dosa – They are twin children, either in twos or threes. Imaged with Sts. Cosmas and Damien, or the Three Virtues.

Papa Loko Atisou and Manbo Ayizan Velekete – The prototypical priest and priestess of the tradition. They confer the office of priesthood in initiation.

Danbala Wedo and Ayida Wedo – The white snake and the rainbow, together they are the oldest living beings. Danbala brings people into the Vodou. St. Patrick and Moses are used for Danbala.

Ogou Feray – He is a fierce general who works hard for his children but can be moody and sullen at times as well.

Ogou Badagri – He is a diplomat, and is Ogou Feray’s chief rival.

Ezili Freda – She is a mature light-skinned woman who enjoys the finest things, jewelry, expensive perfume, champagne etc. She is said to own all men (or she thinks she does) and can be very jealous. She gives romance and luxury. She is so pure she must never touch the bare ground. Her main rival is her sister Ezili Dantor.

Agwe Tawoyo – He rules the sea and those who have crossed the ocean, and is symbolized by his boat named “Imammou”. St. Ulrich is his saint counterpart.

PETWO (Petro) Pantheon in Haitian Vodou

Gran Bwa Ile – His name means “Great Wood”. He is a spirit of wilderness. He is fierce and unpredictable, and a section of the grounds of a Vodou temple is always left wild for him. St. Sebastian is used to represent Gran Bwa.

Ezili Dantor – a Petwo lwa, she is a strong black single mother. She does not speak, but makes a “kay kay kay” sound in possession. She is nurturing and protective but is dangerous when aroused, even to her own children. Her image is the Mater Salvatoris of Czestokowa. She often uses a dagger or bayonet, and her colors are often red and dark blue. A little known fact is that she is actually a hermaphrodite, and takes both men and women in marriage.

Ti Jan Petwo – the son and lover of Ezili Dantor.

Simbi – the Simbi lwa live in fresh water rivers and are knowledgeable in the areas of magic and sorcery.

The Bawons – they rule the cemetary and the grave. There are three – La Kwa, Samdi, and Simitye.

The Gedeh – The Gedeh spirits are all dead spirits who rule death and humor and fertility. They drink rum steeped with 21 habanero peppers and bathe their faces and genitals with this mixture also, to prove that they are who they say they are. They are sung for last at a party for the spirits. Chief of the Gedeh is Gedeh Nibo, with his wife Maman Brijit. St. Gerard represents the Gedeh.

Role of Clergy in Haitian Vodou

In serving the spirits, the Vodouisant seeks to achieve harmony with their own individual nature and the world around them, manifested as personal power and resourcefulness in dealing with life. Part of this harmony is membership in and maintaining relationships within the context of family and community. A Vodou house or society is organized on the metaphor of an extended family, and initiates are the “children” of their initiators, with the sense of hierarchy and mutual obligation that implies.

Most Vodouisants are not initiated, referred to as being “bosal”; it is not a requirement to be an initiate in order to serve one’s spirits. There are clergy in Vodou whose responsibility it is to preserve the rituals and songs and maintain the relationship between the spirits and the community as a whole (though some of this is the responsibility of the whole community as well). They are entrusted with leading the service of all of the spirits of their lineage. Priests are referred to as “houngans” and priestesses as “manbos”. Below the houngans and manbos are the hounsis, who are initiates who act as assistants during ceremonies and who are dedicated to their own personal mysteries. One doesn’t serve just any lwa but only the ones they “have”, which is a matter of one’s individual nature and destiny, and sometimes a matter of which spirits one has met and who take a liking to oneself. Since the spirits are individuals, they respond best to those whom they know or have been personally introduced to. Which spirits a person has may be revealed at a ceremony, in a reading, or in dreams. However anyone may and should serve their own blood ancestors.

That said, there are a few spirits or groups of spirits that have a particular relationship with humankind such that, it is not unreasonable to say, anyone might approach them with some confidence if a few basic forms and preferences are known, among these being Papa Legba Atibon, the gatekeeper of the spirits, Danbala Wedo, who is said to own all heads and is the oldest ancestor of all life, and Papa Gedeh, who gives voice to the spirits of the dead, and everyone has Dead. I leave it to the reader to investigate the identities of these spirits further from other sources such as the Vodouspirit Yahoo! forum. Also the Catholic saints are all very approachable to anyone who asks for their help, such as St. Anthony or St. Michael.

Standards of Conduct in Haitian Vodou

The cultural values that Vodou embraces center around ideas of honor and respect – to God, to the spirits, to the family and sosyete, and to oneself. There is a plural idea of proper and improper, in the sense that what is appropriate to someone with a Danbala as their head may be different from someone with an Ogou as their head, for example — one spirit is very cool and the other one is very hot. I would say that coolness overall is valued, and so is the ability and inclination to protect oneself and one’s own if necessary. Love and support within the family of the Vodou sosyete seems to be the most important consideration. Generosity in giving to the community and to the poor is also an important value. Our blessings come to us through our community and we should be willing to give back to it in turn. Since Vodou has such a community orientation, there are no “solitaries” in Vodou, only people separated geographically from their elders and house. It is not a “do it yourself” religion – a person without a relationship of some kind with elders will not be practicing Vodou. You can’t pick the fruit if you don’t start with a root.

The Haitian Vodou religion is an ecstatic rather than a fertility-based tradition, and does not discriminate against gay people or other queer people in any way. Unlike in some Wiccan traditions, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression of a practitioner is of no concern in a ritual setting, it is just the way God made a person. The spirits help each person to simply be the person that they are.

Way of Worship in Haitian Vodou

After a day or two of preparation setting up altars, ritually preparing and cooking fowl and other foods, etc., a Haitian Vodou service begins with a series of Catholic prayers and songs in French, then a litany in Kreyol and African “langaj” that goes through all the European and African saints and lwa honored by the house, and then a series of verses for all the main spirits of the house. This is called the “Priye Gineh” or the African Prayer. After more introductory songs then the songs for all the individual spirits are sung. As the songs are sung spirits will come to visit those present by taking possession of individuals and speaking and acting through them. Each spirit is saluted and greeted by the initiates present and will give readings, advice and cures to those who approach them for help. Many hours later in the wee hours of the morning, the last song is sung, guests leave, and all the exhausted hounsis and houngans and manbos can go to sleep.

On the individual’s household level, a Vodouisant or “sevite”/”serviteur” may have one or more tables set out for their ancestors and the spirit or spirits that they serve with pictures or statues of the spirits, perfumes, foods, and other things favored by their spirits. The most basic set up is just a white candle and a clear glass of water and perhaps flowers. On a particular spirit’s day, one lights a candle and says an Our Father and Hail Mary, salutes Papa Legba and asks him to open the gate, and then one salutes and speaks to the particular spirit like an elder family member. Ancestors are approached directly, without the mediating of Papa Legba, since they are in one’s blood.

If a person feels like they are being “called” or approached by the spirits of Haiti, the first thing a person should begin to do is to serve their ancestors, perhaps beginning with an ancestor novena (see the links below). Monday is the day of the ancestors in our house, but ideally one speaks to their ancestors daily. If you do not honor your ancestors first, they may get upset and stand between you and other spirits. The second thing is to seek out a competent and trustworthy manbo or houngan for a reading or consultation. It may take some time of prayer, patience and effort to find a suitable person. Travel may even be necessary. They can help determine what spirit(s) if any may be involved and what if anything might need be done. Expect to pay some sort of fee for their time – unlike many Neo-Pagan traditions, in Haitian Vodou “manbo e houngan travay pa pou youn gwan mesi” (“The manbo and the houngan don’t work for a big thank you”) (3). This is true of other African-based traditions as well.

Role of Initiation into Haitian Vodou

Initiation in Haitian Vodou is a serious matter, and it is advised to not run off to Haiti with the first person you encounter, on the internet or elsewhere, sight unseen or otherwise, who says they will initiate you. Take the time to get to know your prospective Maman or Papa in the Vodou, and the members of their society. Attend ceremonies in person, ask questions, learn, check references. Serve your ancestors, cultivate patience, and wait. Pay attention to dreams or other messages from the spirits. For most people initiation is totally unnecessary. It may be advised to research (as you would anyone else!) and weigh carefully, but perhaps not necessarily discount out of hand, anyone actively promoting initiation into the Haitian Vodou priesthood with marketing slogans and New Age buzzwords. Haitian Vodou does not proselytize and it is not for sale although even valid initiations do cost some money, due to the time, people, materials and travel involved. If you think of the time and care it takes to make the best choice when you invest in a car or a home, or to hire a babysitter for the kids, how much more important are one’s concerns of the Spirit? At the end of the day, reputations and rumors are less important than an honest answer to one question however: “Will I be happy and satisfied having this person/these people in my life? Is this a community where I can learn and grow in a positive way?” Only the seeker can answer that question for themselves, with God’s help. And the help of the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (see the links below).

Also there are other options besides initiation in Haitian Vodou to become closer to the spirits. While the concept of initiation gets a lot of airplay among outsiders, far more common among the Haitian community is the “maryaj mistik”, or the mystical marriage, in which the Vodouisant literally marries one or more lwa, in a ceremony complete with bridal dresses, rings, cakes, and a priest. In return they gain special protection and favor from the spiritual spouse. This is generally in exchange for one day of sexual abstinence per week in which the human spouse receives the spirit in their dreams, and any other terms spelled out in the marriage contract.

Initiation for its part creates a reciprocal bond between initiator and the new initiate with obligations every bit as serious as marriage, deeper even since it cannot be undone. Initiator and initiate become family with all the joys and burdens that may entail. It also entails certain promises, responsibilities and commitments with regard to the spirits. With persistence and patience, the spirits will lead a person to the house and elders that are right for them. Vodou is not a race, so every seeker can well afford to take their time. Personal relationships are the very foundation of Vodou and there is no substitute for the time it takes to cultivate them. I knew my houngan for three years prior to my own sevis lave tet (“washing of the head”). We were friends long before I had any interest in or notion of any connection to Haitian Vodou that I might have. Some of my god-brothers waited longer than that. This is how it should be. In Haiti these would all be people you grew up with and you would just know who is who or would know someone who knew someone. In the United States, those of us who are non-Haitian have a few more obstacles to overcome, but by the grace of God and the spirits they are not insurmountable.

Regleman Gineh

Initiate or not, once you belong to a house and have chosen an elder, it is important to follow the guidance they provide as to the way things are done in their house, called the “Regleman Gineh”. There is a diversity of practice in Vodou across the country of Haiti and the diaspora, for instance in the north of Haiti the sevis tet or kanzwe may be the only initiation (according to my elders from Haiti in three different houses) as it frequently is in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, whereas in Port Au Prince and the south they practice the kanzo rites with three grades of initiation — senp, si pwen, and asogwe — and the latter is the most familiar mode of practice outside of Haiti. Some lineages combine both, as Manbo Katherine Dunham reports from her personal experience in her book “Island Possessed.” Kay Aboudja, my own house, is one of these lineages. Although the general structure of ritual and practice are the same across Haiti, small details of service and the spirits served will vary from house to house, and information in books or on the internet may be contradictory. When in doubt, etiquette dictates that one consult their own Maman or Papa in the Vodou, and practice as they direct according to the regleman of their lineage, since “every manbo and houngan is the head of their own house”, as a common saying in Haiti taught to me by Houngan Aboudja states.

While the overall tendency in Haitian Vodou is very conservative in accord with its African roots, there is no singular, definitive, One And Only True Right And Only Haitian Vodou ™, only what is right in a particular house or lineage. In other words, if you read something on a web page or a book, and it contradicts what your manbo or houngan says to do, go with what they say. This may seem restrictive on the surface from a solitary Neo-Pagan perspective, but since you have done your homework and taken the time to build a positive relationship of trust with your elder(s) ahead of time, this will not be the case in practice. A good parallel is the way everyone practices the same way in a Wiccan coven context. Ultimately everything comes from the spirits and the ancestors however. It is not a matter of personal preferences as it often may be in popular Witchcraft or other pagan traditions, and this reality becomes clearer with experience in the Sevis Gineh.

This is the most basic overview of the Haitian Vodou religion imaginable; keeping in mind that I am by no means an expert compared to my elders after only a couple of years in the religion as an hounsi, I hope it gives some general idea and understanding of what Haitian Vodou is about, since it summarizes what I have learned from my own elders in a very condensed form. The most important thing I have learned from my elders however is this: Black, red, yellow or white, a person can find beauty and fulfillment serving the spirits in the Haitian religion – the Vodou is not a religion limited by race or ethnicity since ultimately, as science has proven, we are ALL the Children of Africa, and the waters of Gineh join us all

4

Seeing Lagos, Nigeria, Through New Eyes with @temi.coker

For more of Temi’s photos from Nigeria, browse his #temixnigeria hashtag. To continue along with Temi’s work in Texas, follow @temi.coker on Instagram.

When Temi Coker (@temi.coker) was 11 years old, he left his home in Lagos, Nigeria, for Arlington, Texas. Then, a few years ago during college, Temi developed a passion for photography and began searching for a way to bring his culture and art together.

Last December, opportunity struck. His grandmother was about to turn 70, and the family in Nigeria had some portraits commissioned to commemorate the moment. But when the photos didn’t meet Temi’s expectations, he made up his mind: He would return to Nigeria and take them himself.

Back in Nigeria, Temi began to see Lagos differently as he looked around through his camera’s lens. “For me growing up, when I moved to America everybody was making fun of Africa,” he explains. “I said, ‘Ok, well, my job here today is to go find the beauty in Nigeria and to allow people to see a different side than what they see on TV.’”

As he revisited the beaches, city streets and markets of his childhood, he was struck by the beauty he saw not only in the surroundings, but also in the people. From women selling crops to suya sellers to police officers directing traffic on their days off to fishermen cleaning out their canoes in the morning, he found inspiration in the working world of Lagos that he’d never noticed as a child — and he shared it with the #temixnigeria hashtag. “I just wanted to show people what it’s like to actually go to a place where you were born, now with a new vision, and capture the essence of that. Not to make the story about me, but about Nigeria and how beautiful it actually is.”

With a renewed sense of confidence as a photographer, Temi returned to Texas where he’s begun to take on professional work and develop many personal projects, including multiple-exposure manipulations and a storytelling series that shows the Nigerian traditions alive in the US.