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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 3845 times)
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« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2008, 11:11:45 am »


Haitian Vodouisants believe, in accordance with widespread African tradition, that there is one God
who is the creator of all, referred to as "BondyŤ" (from the French "Bon Dieu" or "Good God"). BondyŤ
is distinguished from the God of "the whites" in a dramatic speech by the houngan Boukman at Bwa Kayiman, but is often considered the same God of other religions, such as Christianity and Islam. BondyŤ 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. Some Vodouisants do
not believe in BondyŤ, instead referring to Damballa as the Creator. Others will believe in both: with Damballa having a lesser role in creation. A Vodouisant will usually have an idea God, regardless of
the relationship with Damballa (from identity with God, to Damballa being a lesser spirit).

There are said to be twenty-one nations or "Nation" of spirits, also sometimes called "lwa-yo". Some
of the more important nations of lwa are the Rada (corresponding to the Gbe-speaking ethnic groups
in the modern-day Republic of Benin, Nigeria, and Togo); the Nago (synonymous with the Yoruba-speaking ethnicities in Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, and Togo); and the numerous West-Central African ethnicities united under the ethnonym Kongo. The spirits also come in "families" that all share
a surname, like Ogou, or Ezili, or Azaka or Ghede. For instance, "Ezili" is a family, Ezili Dantor and Ezili Freda are two individual spirits in that family.

The Ogou family are soldiers, the Ezili govern the feminine spheres of life, the Azaka govern agriculture, the Ghede govern the sphere of death and fertility. In Dominican Vodou, there is also an Agua Dulce or "Sweet Waters" family, which encompasses all Amerindian spirits. There are literally hundreds of lwa. Well known individual lwa include Danbala Wedo, Papa Legba Atibon, and Agwe Tawoyo.

In Haitian Vodou, spirits are divided according to their nature of their nations. There are the nation
of the Congo, Rada, Petwo, Nago, Dahomey, Ghede, and etc. The two popular categories the Haitian believers utilizes are the nation of the Petwo, the more aggressive and the Rada, the calmer spirits.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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