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New Orleans and Haitian Vodou




Louisiana Voodoo

Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of spiritual folkways developed from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by West and Central Africans populations of the U.S. state of Louisiana. Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun. Its liturgical language is Louisiana Creole French, the language of the Louisiana Creole people.

Voodoo became syncretized with the Catholic and Francophone culture of New Orleans as a result of the African cultural oppression in the region resulting from the Atlantic slave trade. Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with—but is not completely separable from—Haitian Vodou and Deep Southern Hoodoo. It differs from Haitian Vodou in its emphasis upon gris-gris, Voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo paraphernalia, and Li Grand Zombi. It was through Louisiana Voodoo that such terms as gris-gris and "Voodoo dolls"' were introduced into the American lexicon.


Marie Laveau House of Voodoo - New Orleans


Haitian Vodou

Haitian Vodou (/ˈvoʊduː/, French: [vodu], also written as Vaudou /ˈvoʊduː/; known commonly as Voodoo /ˈvuːduː/, sometimes as Vodun /ˈvoʊduː/, Vodoun /ˈvoʊduːn/, Vodu[6] /ˈvoʊduː/, or Vaudoux /ˈvoʊduː/) is a syncretic religion practiced chiefly in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Practitioners are called "vodouists" (French: vodouisants [voduizɑ̃]) or "servants of the spirits" (Haitian Creole: sèvitè).

Vodouists believe in a distant and unknowable Supreme Creator, Bondye (derived from the French term Bon Dieu, meaning "good God"). According to Vodouists, Bondye does not intercede in human affairs, and thus they direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye, called loa. Every loa is responsible for a particular aspect of life, with the dynamic and changing personalities of each loa reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of life over which they preside. To navigate daily life, vodouists cultivate personal relationships with the loa through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, and participation in elaborate ceremonies of music, dance, and spirit possession.

Vodou originated in Nigeria and developed in the French Empire in the 18th century among West African slaves when African religious practice was actively suppressed, and enslaved Africans were forced to convert to Christianity.Religious practices of contemporary Vodou are descended from, and closely related to, West African Vodun as practiced by the Fon and Ewe. Vodou also incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yoruba and Kongo; as well as Taíno religious beliefs, Roman Catholicism, and European spirituality including mysticism and other influences.

In Haiti, a very small number of Roman Catholics combine their faith with aspects of Vodou. This practice is denounced as diabolical by virtually all Haitian Protestants.



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