Voodoo The Haitian Religion Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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Under emperor Soulouque, Voodoo became acceptable to the regime and emerged publicly (Leyburn). After the liberation of 1804, all white people were kicked out of Haiti and many were killed, which included Roman Catholic priests. Thus in 1804, the Vatican broke with Haiti and did not establish relations with her again until 1860. During this fifty-six year period, houngans (male Voodoo priests) and mambos (female Voodoo priests) built up the public religion of Haiti, which was Voodoo in a copulation of African spirit religion and Catholicism (Corbett, Introduction to Voodoo in Haiti). Virtually all Voodoo spirits, or loa, became associated with Catholic saints. The most important consequence of this is that Haitians see nothing wrong with practicing Voodoo and Catholicism side by

side and are often devout about each of them (Corbett, Voodoos Relationship to Christianity). From the 1860 s to the 1940 s, some elements of the Catholic Church waged an all out holy war against Voodoo. They burned peristyle, Voodoo shrines, beat and killed houngans and mambo, and demanded their ostracism form society. However, they lost because Voodoo went underground to some extent, but it grew in popularity, in large measures due to the oppression. By the early 1950 s the Catholic Church hierarchy halted the war and got rid of the oppressors and made its peace with Voodoo. Voodoo drums and melodies were incorporated into Catholic Church services. The Catholics have maintained a relative peace with Voodoo serviteurs ever since (Corbett, Voodoos Relationship to Christianity).

Then in the 1970 s, Evangelical Protestantism came to Haiti due to the fact that after Reagan came to power, Evangelization mushroomed. Evangelical Protestants are bitter enemies of Voodoo and denounce it and its ways as being devil worship and idolatry. Many of these Protestants claim that Haiti s misery is because God is punishing it for the sins of its Voodoo serviteurs, which is a very serious issue for Voodoo in Haiti. Evangelical Protestant groups have grown massively and own seven of Haiti s eleven radio stations and have made significant gains in conversions. Today, most observers believe that at least fifteen percent of the Christians in Haiti are Protestant Evangelists. Now an emergency reform for Voodoo is present as a force in the peasant movement toward progressive

reform in Haiti. Voodoo s history is a hard one. It has been persecuted and oppressed even to this day. What makes the religion so taboo in eyes of many people? The religion of Voodoo is an intricate one. It combines bits of culture from other African religions, thus making it complex. The word Voodoo, which is a distortion of the Dahomean word for vodu means god or spirit , but unfortunately, in popular literature and films the word has been misconstrued as sorcery, witchcraft, and in some cases, cannibalistic practices. All of these accusations are false and have sparked many prejudices not only about Voodoo but also about Haitian culture in general. Voodoo is a monotheistic religion. Its follower s answer to only one God, they call him or her Bondye. This God is very similar

to the God of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The characteristics of their other spiritual beliefs in entities include the following: Loa, the Twins, and the dead. Loa are the various spirits of family members; the spirits of major forces of the universe, which include good, evil, reproduction, health, and all aspects of daily life. Loa interact with people on earth, they do this by mounting them now and again during religious ceremonies and give messages while doing so. They even cause various good and bad things to happen to people, depending on how they feel. Mounting, when referring to loa, is the instance when a loa comes and takes over a person s body from time to time. This is usually done in religious ceremonies or when a loa is trying to communicate with a person. When

the loa enters the body, the person is gone. The body is the body of the individual person, but it is really the loa. For instance, if a male loa enters the body of a female person, he is referred to as a he and not as a she, only during the mounting. The next entities of Voodoo are the Twins. These are much like the ying and yang. The spirits are curious and rather mysterious forces of contradictories: good and evil, happy and sad, right and wrong, and other balances. If honored now and again in religious services, they will tend to help one have the better side of life. The final entity of Voodoo is the dead. These are mainly the souls of one s own family members who have died but have not yet been reclaimed by the family. Ignored family dead can be dangerous, often holding