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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 3106 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2008, 11:20:17 am »










Liturgy and practice
 


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 Kreyl 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 "Priy Gine" or the African Prayer. After more introductory songs, beginning with saluting the spirit of the drums named Hounto, the songs for all the individual spirits are sung, starting with the Legba family through all the Rada spirits, then there is a break and the Petwo part of the service begins, which ends with the songs for the Gede family. As the songs are sung spirits will come to visit those present by taking possession of individuals and speaking and acting through them.

There are some cases where some practitioners who seek attention would pretend to get possessed. There are times when the houngan would drink until he is very drunk at the end of the ceremony. Some practitioners of these vodou ceremony fall into being fooled by the vodou priest. When a ceremony is made, only the family of those possessed is benefited. This is the greatest time these mambo or houngan can take your luck if they ask for champagne from you. Beware when that occurs.

Sometimes these ceremony have some dispute going among the singers because of the way its sung. In Haiti, these vodou ceremonies, depending on the Priest or Priestess, may be more organized. But in the United States, vodou practitioner and the priests/priestess takes it as a folly party. 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 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 "svit"/"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 said to be
"in the blood".
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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