As the world’s economy develops, people are becoming more and more curious about ancient practices which are considered primitive. This is not limited to Africa as some practices such as voodoo have spread worldwide.
Voodoo is a West African religion that originated from the Caribbean coast of Haiti. An estimated 80% of today’s practicing voodoo priests are ethnically Haitian with other practitioners including some Anglos, Afro-Latin Americans (mostly Cubans), and Amerindians.
Since the first official records of voodoo in Haiti, it has spread throughout the Caribbean and also to other places around the world including West Africa.
The rituals of voodoo are mostly based on animism (the belief that objects directly have a spirit). Sacrificial rituals are performed to placate the spirits of people who have died in different forms including animals. These rituals are known as Law and include Papa Legba and Damballah. Beliefs about Lwa and how they function are derived from the mythology of African people.
The word “voodoo” comes from the Kongo words “Vu ko dio” which means, “the way of a God”. Voodoo is known by many names in different countries. It is called Exotic Religions, Vodou, Hoodoo, or Congo Folk magic in English-speaking countries. In France, it is called Vaudo (Voudou). In Haiti, Voodoo is referred to as Vodou, meaning “spirit or soul” and defines all the Voodoo cults. In the West Indies, it is called Vaudoux or Vaudoux.
At some point in the late fifteenth century, slaves from the Western Coast of Africa were brought to Cuba and Haiti. From then on, they had made their ways of worshiping their God without allowing foreign influences into their beliefs. Voodoo was carried along and thus the practice of voodoo in the Caribbean countries was born.
The Voodoo religion and rituals have been practiced in Haiti since slaves were brought from Africa. Haitian Voodoo is the official religion of Haiti and one of the major religions in the world. It has a rich history that is based on African traditional customs, but as time roll by, it became influenced by some other religion. Voodoo practices are performed for different reasons. Some are done to give thanks for positive events while others are performed to ask that negative event never happen again. One of the basic rules of voodoo religion is to use it positively and not for harming another being (living or not).
Haitian Voodoo priests can communicate with their gods, spirits, and ancestors through all kinds of rituals including drinking massive amounts of alcohol and dancing all night long. It is important to note that each Voodoo cult has its distinctive rituals. Some rituals are performed only by the priests while others are done by the congregation. The different bodies of water that exist in Haiti (such as rivers, lakes, and seas) are considered sacred to Haitian Voodoo. For example, many Voodoo rites are done while standing on a log floating in a river or lake.