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Eyeing Tourism, Haiti Battles Its Violent Reputation - HISTORY

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Author Topic: Eyeing Tourism, Haiti Battles Its Violent Reputation - HISTORY  (Read 3350 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2008, 10:56:45 am »










Vodou, as it is known in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispaniola during the African slave trade. Under slavery, African culture and religion was suppressed, lineages were fragmented, and people pooled their religious knowledge and from this fragmentation became culturally unified.

In addition to combining the spirits of many different African and Indian nations, Vodou has incorporated pieces of Roman Catholic liturgy to replace lost prayers or elements. Images of Catholic saints are used to represent various spirits or "mistè" ("mysteries", actually the preferred term in Haiti), and many saints themselves are honored in Vodou in their own right. This syncretism allows Vodou to encompass the African, the Indian, and the European ancestors in a whole and complete way. It is truly a Kreyòl religion.

The most historically important Vodou ceremony in Haitian history was the Bwa Kayiman or Bois Caïman ceremony of August 1791 that began the Haitian Revolution, in which the spirit Ezili Dantor possessed a priestess 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 French colonial rule in 1804, and the establishment of the first black people's republic in the history of the world and the second independent nation in the Americas.

Haitian vodou crossed over in the United States as early as the 1800s, but surfaced mainly in New Orleans. One practitioner that popularized it in the area was the famed Vodou Queen Marie Laveau, but other forms of vodou existed in the United States dating before the 1776 revolution. Because of the system imposed to slaves in all of the British colonies in the western hemisphere, many masters were able to control their slaves to make absolutely no attempt to practice any religion of African origin. Drum beats heard by the master in the American territory would cause slaves to be subject to punishment.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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