Vodou Research Paper

983 Words4 Pages

What do you know about Vodou? Your first thoughts are probably voodoo dolls, zombies, and witches with semi-racist accents, but little of that actually represents Vodou. First and foremost, Vodou is not black magic; “Voodoo Dolls” are a Hollywood invention made to sell movie tickets. Vodou is, in fact, a syncretic religion combining aspects of Roman Catholicism, West African Vodun, and a little bit of Native American spirituality. The means by which this synthesis arose is actually quite amazing. The history of Vodou is one of preservation, adaptation, and transformation in the face of fervent, Catholic hegemony.
Over the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain and France fought over the island of Hispaniola (relatively big island in the Caribbean) …show more content…

In the woods of Bois Caïman, slave representatives from several plantations all met under the cover of darkness to perform their rituals and complain about their masters. In the heat of the moment, a slave named Cécile Fatiman, reportedly possessed by the spirit of Ezili Dantor (essentially the Black Madonna), did what any sane person would do and sacrificed a black pig. In the course of these events, everyone there pledged to free themselves of their white oppressors. What followed was the most successful slave revolution in history, with the Africans managing to completely overthrow the French government in Haiti. For a brief time, Vodou prospered in the Haitian republic. Europe, however, refused to recognize the young nation and boycotted it, believing that the Haitians won through the use of devil magic. The Haitian economy, subsequently, collapsed. Desperate to appear as good Christians, the revolutionaries distanced themselves from Vodou, and eventually outlawed it in Haiti as a whole. Once again, Vodou went underground and did so up until 1987, when a constitutional amendment declared legal discrimination a hindrance to religious freedom. These turbulent times for Vodouisants scared many practitioners, causing them to immigrate throughout the Americas, with many settling in New Orleans. As the Vodou faith dispersed, each region began to develop

Show More
Open Document