HauntedAmericaTours.com - Information on Ghost, Hauntings and Stories of the Unexplained!
 Haunted America Tours
Haunted America Tours © 2004-2013
Haunted America Tours Home Page Breaking Paranormal News Online Shopping Events Links Contact Us

Web www.hauntedamericatours.com


Book The Real Things You Want To Do Worldwide!

We offer over 5,500 sightseeing tours and activities in over 400 destinations

Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/america4ghost/public_html/phpincludes/sidemenu.php on line 473

Warning: include(http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/phpincludes/top10mostread.php): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/america4ghost/public_html/phpincludes/sidemenu.php on line 473

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/phpincludes/top10mostread.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/america4ghost/public_html/phpincludes/sidemenu.php on line 473




Brad and Sherry Steiger

Please Visit his Official Web Site ~ edwardshanahan.com

Conscious Channeler Edward Shanahan






Voodoo Holiday Hoodoo

Story by Greg Hoffman

Vodou as it is known in New Orleans and the Haitian diaspora is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispaniola during the African slave trade. Under slavery, African culture and religion was suppressed, lineages were fragmented, and people pooled their religious knowledge and from this fragmentation became culturally unified. In addition to combining the spirits of many different African and Indian nations, Vodou has incorporated pieces of Roman Catholic liturgy to replace lost prayers or elements. Images of Catholic saints are used to represent various spirits or mistè (“mysteries,” actually the preferred term in Old New Orleans and Haiti), and many saints themselves are honored in Vodou in their own right. This syncretism allows Vodou to encompass the African, the Indian, and the European ancestors in a whole and complete way. It is truly a Kreyòl religion.. Most all New Orleanians believe in voodoo.

New Orleans Vodouisants believe, in accordance with widespread African tradition, that there is one god who is the creator of all, referred to as Bondyè (from the French “Bon Dieu” or “Good God”). Since the 1980s, the Catholic Church has grown more accommodating, and has abandoned its former line of outright opposition. Many progressive New Orleans Catholic priests see Vodou as an important cultural element in New Orleans society. However, there is a growing threat from the evangelical Protestant churches, many from other parts of the USA, who campaign aggressively to get New Orleanians to reject Vodou and Mardi Gras.

Beliefs and practices vary widely from sect to sect and tend to be very complex, but all share some or all of the following traits: Syncretism or associations between traditional Yoruban or Bantu religion and Roman Catholicism, the practice of Animal sacrifice and trance possession, spirit mediumship, sympathetic magic, and elements of medieval Goetic magic and kabbalah.

The seven main Orishas of Santeria are known collectively as the Seven African Powers and are:

The Seven African Powers



Eleggua, (Elegua, Exu, Eshu, Papa Legba, Papa Le Bas) a trickster/prankster, God of thresholds and crossroads, and the intercessor between worshippers and the other Orishas. Exu is the only intermediary between the other gods and man; his attributes vary from sect to sect, from prankster to maleific.
Chango, (Sango, Xango) a warrior, and the God of Justice, Dance and lightning.
Oya (Maman Brigitte)- Goddess of thunder and storms, cemeteries; a warrior and psychopomp. Wife of Chango.
Ochun, (Ocun, Osun, Oxum, Erzulie) Goddess of Rivers and "sweet" (fresh) waters. A Goddess of love and sensuality.
Yemaya, (Yemanja, Iemoja, La Siren) Goddess of the Ocean, motherhood.
Ogun, (Oggun, Ogoun, Ogum) a warrior and vegetation God, Lord of the Hunt.
Obatala, Father and Chief of the Gods, linked to Oludomare. Creator of the human race.

The Seven African powers are the most well-known and celebrated divinities of the Yoruba Pantheon, and are common to all Yoruba faiths, although they are not always considered to be the same deities. In Macumba traditions (Candomble, Umbanda), they are called Orixa; in Vodoun, they are called Lwas (Loas); in Palo, Nkisi. In all of these traditions, the Orishas have many aspects (Caminos), which are often quite diverse.

For more Visit here about the Seven African Powers Visit Here Now!


Music is an integral part of worship in all sects. The rhythms of the drums, chants and songs are all utilized to invoke the Gods/spirits to appearance; each have their own songs and sacred rhythms. Most temples employ permanent drummers.

Some of the more gruesome misconceptions are that practitioners commit human sacrifice, practice Black magic, etc. These things are absolutely prohibited in these religions- although a Brujo/Bruja (witch) or Bokor may practice forbidden or 'dark' magic, they do so without orthodox sanction. When animal sacrifice, or Ebo, as practiced by these religions, is performed, every care is made that the death is quick and clean, and the animal is almost always consumed. (Often, the animal is asked to 'consent' to the sacrifice) Sacrifices are made to 'feed' the Orishas, not to accumulate 'power' for the magician.

Voodoo Holidays

Catholic religious holidays became Voodoo holidays for the corresponding loa. For instance, celebration for a family of spirits called the Gedes, who are personifications of dead ancestors, take place on All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day.

New Orleans moveable Voodoo feasts.
Moveable Feasts Religion: Christian (Western), Vodoun

Carnival New Orleans Mardi Gras
Good Friday
Carnival lasts a week but only the one day is an official holiday.
Voodoo Hurricane Protection Ritual held in July.

Two Private rituals at the tomb of Marire Laveau held second weeks in July and November.

January 2, 3, 4 - Breaking the cakes (case gateaux), a communal form of mange lwa
January 6 - Les Rois (the kings)
February 25 - Ritual feeding of the springs (manger tetes d'l'eau)
March 16 - Loko Davi, eating of the ritual wood and of its guard
March 19 - Saint Joseph, an expression of the jurisdiction of Legba
March 20 - Legba Zaou (eating consists mainly of a black goat)
April 27 - Danbala Wedo
April 29 - Breaking the jugs (casse canarie), deliverance of the souls from purgatory
April 31 - Feeding the dead (mange-les-morts)
May 12 - Feeding of different loa
May 18 - Feeding of Grande Aloumandia
May 20, 21 - Sim'bi blanc
May 30 - Sung masses (chante-messes) in the Roman-Catholic church
June 23 - Saint Johns Eve Voodoo Marie Laveau Head Washing New Orleans Bayou St. John
June 24 - Saint John Wort
June 28 - M'sieu Guimeh Sauveur; Mystere Grande Delai; common table served for Maetresse Erzulie, Maetress Tenaise and Maetresse Mam'bo
July 25 - Papa Ogou or St. James the Greater (sheep and goats are offered)
July 26 - Common table for Grande Saint Anne, also known as Mystere Grande Delai and Grande Aloumandia
July 29 - Maetresse Silverine (who only very slightly tastes of the food offered to her) and Maetresse Lorvana (who smells flowers for her nurishment)
August 25 - Communion table for Danbala Wedo, also known as Saint Louis of the King of France
August 29 - L'Orient, one of the most important mysteres
August 30, 31 - Agwe (offerings of goats, peppers and peppermints)
September 25 - Roi Wangol and Mousondi
September 29 - Manman Aloumandia
September 30 - Maetresse Delai
October 30, 31 - Masses sung in the Roman-Catholic church; communion table of 40 scarves of different colors, exposed to the peristyle and "served"
November 1, 2 - The Guede loa come out of the cemeteries, possess their horses and come into the hounforts to amuse themselves in the form of souls incarnated or reincarnated
November 25th - Eating the yams (manger-yam)
December 10 - Ganga-Bois
December 12, 13, 14 - Feeding the sea (agoueh r oyo)
December 25 - Bath of Christmas; leaf-rubbing for medical treatments and talismans for magic protection, ritual sacrifices of pigs and goats, boucans for amusement, to which the loa come to bathe themselves and their proteges; sacrifice of turkeys for Caplau


A Vodou believer pours hot pepper-spiced homemade alcohol on her genital area, one of the key rituals during Gede, a Vodou holiday dedicated to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits of the dead, while other believers, one clutching a miniature coffin, look on in the National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

the Day of the Dead. Saturday is also New Year's Day in the Vodou calendar in Haiti. Practitioners visit the tombstones of relatives and pay their respects to Baron Samedi, the god of the dead, and to his lascivious, sardonic offspring, Gede.

'Malia,' a Haitian Voodoo priestess, center, sings in front of a crowd of people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, cemetery during an annual ritual connected with Gede, a Voodoo holiday dedicated to Baron Samedi and the Gede family of spirits of the dead in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Nov. 2, 2003, which is also Day of the Dead. Malia is the most popular priestess in her neighborhood and every year hundreds follow her to the cemetery where, while possessed, she dances and lifts her dress. One of the most important Voodoo holidays in the country, especially in the capital, Gede mixes honoring one's ancestors through joking and making sexual innuendos as Vodouists go to cemeteries to light candles and pray with food and drinks.

Voodoo followers believe that all life is driven by spiritual forces of natural phenomena such as water, fire, earth and air and that these should be honoured through rituals like animal sacrifices.

Followers acknowledge the existence of both a supreme being and many smaller gods which can intercede with the supreme being on behalf of humans.

Martine De Sousa, a former curator of the Voodoo Museum in Benin and an expert on the religion rejects criticism of Voodoo from many Africans.

"People have a negative image of voodoo because of some of the bad practices, a sort of a witchcraft, where you can put a bad spell on someone when you are jealous of that person."

Adding that, "That [bad practice] is totally different from Voodoo."

Psychic Mickey of Miami visiting the Tomb of Grand High Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Investigated the November Blessing of the Tomb Ritual Held By binca the reigning Voodoo queen Of New Orleans.

Many Grande Voodoo rituals are a part of everyday life in New Orleans. When asked, many locals can recall having witnessed or participated in any number of voodoo and vodoun-inspired rituals in their lifetime.

Haunted New Orleans Tours present the Top Ten Most Powerful Voodoo Rituals as chosen by New Orleans Voodoo Followers!

No. 1: Hurricane Protection Ritual

This ritual is held each July, approximately a month into New Orleans’ annual hurricane season. Under the direction of Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman and La Source Ancienne Ounfo, the ritual is held to honor the powerful Petwo Lwa Erzulie Dantor and to thank her for continued protection in the face of these powerful and destruction forces of Nature. Mambo Sallie Ann assembles the servite around the peristile in her temple where offerings are made and rituals are performed to invoke Dantor across the dark waters of the Great Abyss, asking her to keep her faithful safe for another year. Appropriate offerings at the Hurricane Protection ritual include spicy fried pork, corn and egg omelets, spicy cakes and candies such as “Red Hots” and “Hot Tamales,” rum, whiskey, cigars, Florida Water, and storm water. Dantor is syncretized with the Catholic Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the Black Madonnas of Poland, among others. Mambo Sallie Ann and the Ounfo have been holding the Hurricane Protection Ritual each year for the past eight years, and each year New Orleans has been protected. However, the destruction and havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina have tempted many to suggest that Dantor finally failed her servite and the City. Devotees of this powerful Lwa are quick to point out that, actually, Hurricane Katrina did turn away from New Orleans at the last minute: after making landfall in Louisiana’s southern Plaquemines Parish, Katrina turned eastward and vented her worst fury on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Believers in Dantor and the power of this yearly ritual credit this last minute turn to the great Lwa and reiterate what officials all across the region have said again and again: This was not a direct hit; had Hurricane Katrina been a direct hit, there would be nothing but water where the City now stands. Thanks to Erzulie Dantor, many believe, there is something left of New Orleans today.

No. 2: Marie Laveau Headwashing Ceremony

Commemorating the time of year most preferred by Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau for her workings, this ceremony takes place on June 23rd, traditionally St. John’s Eve and an important date in many cultures. During her lifetime Mambo Marie Laveau hosted her voodoo “bamboulas” to coincide with this date; these always took place along the waterway known as Bayou St. John in New Orleans. To honor both the tradition and the great Voodoo Queen herself, Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman and La Source Ancienne Ounfo host a midsummer headwashing ritual each year on the same waterway favored by Marie Laveau. This ritual, performed for the benefit of devotees and members of the public alike, is a celebration of the season of fullness and plenty. As with other rituals, Marie Laveau, honored as a powerful ancestral Lwa in her own right, is invoked by the Mambo to join in the festivities. A ritual headwashing takes place and all are invited to share in the powerful “ashe” or energy that is invoked from the presence of Marie Laveau and that is passed, through the Mambo, to each devotee. Hypnotic ritual drumming accompanies the ritual and after headwashing is complete devotees dance long into the sapphire night. Offerings for Marie Laveau are appropriate and these include white candles, white scented flowers, hair dressing items such as combs, brushes, ribbons and clips (Marie Laveau was a hairdresser by trade), foods such as fried pork and coconut cake, cigars, Florida Water, and, of course, rum. Mambo Sallie Ann repeats her waterside ritual in the lobby of the International House Hotel in New Orleans each June 24th, St. John’s Day.

No. 3: Bianca’s Midnight Blessing of the Monkey and Cock Statues

Modern day Voodoo Queen Bianca reigns over New Orleans Voodoo in direct line from Marie Laveau, recognized as the original queen. Each year, sometimes twice a year, Queen Bianca will host a ritual in which the Monkey and Cock Statues created in honor of Marie Laveau are blessed and charged. In this ritual, which always takes place outdoors in a highly secret location, Queen Bianca will invoke the spirit of Marie Laveau, becoming possessed by the powerful Voodoo Queen. Through Bianca, her modern day counterpart, Marie Laveau is able to be present with her devotees and personally blesses the Monkey and Cock Statues. The highly secret vodusi of Queen Bianca’s Sosyete present the living, channeled Marie Laveau with the first Monkey and Cock Statue of each year as an offering; other offerings preferred by Marie Laveau, including those detailed above, are also presented and accepted by Laveau through the powerful Queen Bianca. The first Monkey and Cock statue remains with the powerful Mambo throughout the year until the time of the next ritual when it is ceremoniously broken in favor of another. This ritual is said to take place once each year, usually around April 30th or May 1st; often, however, Queen Bianca and her vodusi will repeat the ritual in the fall of the year, coinciding with harvest festivals and Samhain rituals. As stated, the location for each ritual is a closely guarded secret and is only shared with members of the Sosyete at the very last minute, when they are called to assemble. This is one of the most powerful examples of continuing devotion to the great Marie Laveau surviving in New Orleans today.

No. 4: Day of the Dead Ritual

Voodoo rituals commemorating the ancestors and sacred dead coincide with the timing of other such rituals the world over. The Day of the Dead rituals observed by the practitioners of vodoun, however, tend to be the least public and least accessible of all voodoo rituals. Generally, these rituals are celebrated on or about the 1st of November, a date that coincides with the Catholic observance of All Saints’ Day. Sometimes, however, the vodoun rituals will begin one to two days prior to this holy day. Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman traditionally hosts a Day of the Dead (or, Dia de los Muertos) ritual in which she honors the ancestors (the family Lwas) and the powerful Lwas who advocate for the dead as they cross the dark waters of the Great Abyss. Paramount in these celebrations is the honoring of Gede, the great Lwa of death and regeneration. Gede, and his family of Gueddes, as well as Manmam Brigit, his wife, all hold prominent roles in voodoo commemoration of the dead. Offerings to Gede or Manmam Brigit are appropriate on this occasion; these include black and purple candles, sunglasses with one eye missing (to acknowledge Gede’s ability to see in both worlds – living and dead), cigars and cigarettes, rum, spicy pork, bones, graveyard stones and dirt, crosses, black jewels, and raw cotton. Devotees are often invited to participate in the Day of the Dead Voodoo Rituals by bringing photographs or other items that commemorate their deceased loved ones and by participating in a ritual “Dumb Supper” under the direction of the Mambo or priestess.

No. 5: Blessing of the Mississippi River

This ritual is held each year around the beginning of May to commemorate the great Mississippi River, a force of life and commerce in Louisiana and the surrounding region. The powerful Rada Lwa Yemaya, also called Oshun in the Santeria religion and Mami Wata to the Dahomey, is the force invoked in this traditional ritual. The Mambo stands at the river side and, following invocation of the water spirit, will propitiate her with offerings such as sea shells, sweet cakes, red wine, and fresh fruits such as mangoes and pomegranate. The offerings are ritually “fed” to the river to honor the Lwa and to seek her blessing for a profitable and healthy year.

No. 6: Blessing of the Cemeteries.

This ritual usually takes place in the dark month of November. After the Day of the Dead celebrations, there are specific rituals designed to invoke the powerful Lwas who protect the Cities of the Dead; these Lwas include Manmam Brigit, again, but also the powerful Santeria spirit Oya who dances about the tombs and guards the entrance to graveyards. The ritual is a procession through the cemetery with offerings left at significant crossways and tombs as indicated by the Mambo. This will ensure the safety and sanctity of this last resting place and will honor the powerful protectress who guards the sleeping dead. Offerings to Oya include deep purple eggplants, orange and purple candles, pumpkins and squash (cooked or raw), rum and whiskey, cowrie shells and cigars.

No. 7: Crime Protection Ritual

This voodoo ritual, held in to honor and ask protection of the powerful Lwa Ogun La Flambo, is held at least once a year, but will be held more frequently if there is need. Designed to seek the intervention of Ogun in stopping the spread of violent crime and in keeping the hearth and home safe, the ritual is a powerful reminder that devotees of vodoun seldom go unrewarded. Entire neighborhoods have been offered for protection from Ogun, who is syncretized with St. George and is often depicted on horseback, carrying a spear. Invoked by the Mambo, Ogun is a powerful advocate; he is appeased with offerings that include 151 proof rum, iron nails, cauldrons, horse shoes and farming implements, and machetes that have been painted or marked with his veve. Ogun is said to leave no request unanswered and those who put their house under his protection have nothing to fear.

No. 8: Voodoo Wedding Ceremony

Voodoo weddings are growing in popularity in New Orleans and couples have come from as far away as Canada and Australia to be joined in one of the most meaningful rituals in all vodoun. Priestesses and priests who perform the rituals insist that the couple approach the union soberly, meaning having meditated not only on the meaning of the union but on the which of the powerful Lwas will most closely associate with the newly-married. Usually, the priestess is closely involved in this process, guiding the couple and interpreting the signs from spirit. Voodoo weddings seem to bring extreme joy to Erzulie Freda, the Rada Lwa of True Love, and she always seems to respond to wedding invocations. La Sirene, another aspect of Erzulie, also likes to lend blessings to wedding unions, and Gede likes to show up because there’s a party involved, but also because his role as the Lwa of regeneration is important to the process of starting new life together. Once the couple has achieved this awareness, the priestess will guide them and invoke not only the Lwas but also the ancestors for blessings on the union and the couple’s new life. Similar to pagan handfastings, Voodoo weddings invite the couple to revel in the joy of togetherness by jumping over the ritual broom; the broom is then presented to the couple as their first wedding gift, to be displayed in a place of honor in the new home. Gris-gris bags containing appropriate herbs and object links, such as hair or fingernails, from the couple, are created and consecrated; these are also presented to the couple. Invoking the Gran Zombi is another voodoo wedding ritual: Gran Zombi, the snake, represents the great creator spirit of the Universe and is invoked to bless the union. The couple joins hands and the snake is placed over their arms to ritually coil upon them and bind them together in spirit. Voodoo weddings, with their significant ancient rituals, drumming trance dances, and wide-open connection to the spirit realm are occasions for great celebration among vodusi and devotees; this is part of their growing popularity among people from all walks of life.

No. 9: Blessing of the Mardi Gras

This unique ritual is generally held at or around midnight of Lundi Gras, or the Monday prior to Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. In this festive ritual the blessing of all the Lwas and ancestors is asked for a happy and safe Mardi Gras day. Usually performed separately by each sosyete or Ounfo, drumming and colorful clothing distinguish this ritual from others of more serious intent. Gede again finds honor in this ritual, as he is the patron of the unexpected, but there are other trickster spirits honored and called upon as well, and these vary with the whim of the Mambo each year. All in all this is a ritual designed to bless the party and direct that a good time will be had by all. Offerings include a mix of New Orleans delicacies including gumbo, red beans and rice, and the real Food of Mardi Gras, the King Cake! Often, necklaces of little King Cake babies are made throughout the previous year to be offered to the Lwas at this festive time. So far, they have never failed to reward the faithful as a good time is had by all!

No. 10: Bianca’s Annual Drumming Ritual

The highly secret Sosyete of Bianca the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans conducts regular drumming rituals in secret locations throughout the New Orleans area. In the face of Hurricane Katrina, Bianca and her vodusi undertook a marathon drumming ritual, maintaining it through the very worst of the hurricane’s fury. Even the winds and floodwaters of Katrina could not drown out the drums, and in the end, despite the devastation, the storm turned and spared New Orleans it’s very worst. Under normal circumstances, that is pre-Katrina, Queen Bianca regularly called her Sosyete together, usually around the middle of August, for an annual ceremony to propitiate the Lwas and the ancestors, thanking them for their unceasing attention to the faithful. These drumming rituals are the direct descendants of the “bamboula” that Marie Laveau hosted during her reign as Queen of Voodoo, and, in fact, Queen Bianca still refers to the ritual by that popular name today. With the displacement of many members of her ultra-secret sect, it will be some time before Queen Bianca will host another “bamboula;” but she asked that the drumming rituals continue to take place in absentia until the Sosyete is once again all reunited in its New Orleans home.

Manbo Sallie Ann Glassman Begins the Marie Laveau Ritual on Bayou Saint John.

Vodou is a religion with priests, a society of the faithful, temples, altars, ceremonies, and finally a whole oral tradition by means of which the essential elements of worship have been transmitted. Yet it has never been codified in writing, never possessed a national institutional structure, a national church, an orthodoxy, a seminary, a hymnal, a hierarchy, or a charter. For this reason it is hard for non-believers to pin down exactly what Vodou is.

Opinions can differ about Voodoo and Hoodoo but basically, Voodoo can be defined as an organized religion combining elements of African Vodun and Roman Catholicism. Hoodoo on the other hand is folkloric magic comprised of handed-down traditions practiced primarily in Louisiana, sometimes referred to as 'New Orleans- own brand or style' Voodoo Hoodoo.

Everyone is said to have spirits, and each person is considered to have a special relationship with one particular spirit who is said to own their head, however each person may have many lwa, and the one that owns their head, or the met tet, may or may not be the most active spirit in a person's life in Haitian belief.

In serving the spirits, the Vodouisant seeks to achieve harmony with his/her own individual nature and the world around them, manifested as personal power and resourcefulness in dealing with life. Part of this harmony is membership in and maintaining relationships within the context of family and community. A Vodou house or society is organized on the metaphor of an extended family, and initiates are the children of their initiators, with the sense of hierarchy and mutual obligation that implies.

Most Vodouisants are not initiated, referred to as being bosal; it is not a requirement to be an initiate in order to serve one's spirits. There are clergy in Haitian and New Orleans Vodou whose responsibility it is to preserve the rituals and songs and maintain the relationship between the spirits and the community as a whole (though some of this is the responsibility of the whole community as well). They are entrusted with leading the service of all of the spirits of their lineage. Priests are referred to as houngans and priestesses as manbos. Below the houngans and manbos are the hounsis, who are initiates who act as assistants during ceremonies and who are dedicated to their own personal mysteries. One does not serve just any lwa but only the ones they have according to one's destiny or nature. Which spirits a person has may be revealed at a ceremony, in a reading, or in a dream. However, all Vodouisants also serve the spirits of their own blood ancestors, and this important aspect of Vodou practice is often glossed over or minimized in importance by commentators who do not understand the significance of it. The ancestor cult is in fact the basis of Vodou religion, and many lwa like Agassou (formerly a king of Dahomey) for example are in fact ancestors who are said to have been raised up to divinity.

The Santeria Orishas reflect the powers of Nature and virtues. Santeria holidays are Yoruba holidays affixed to the feast days of the Catholic saints.

African Holidays: Santeria - Old Egyptian

1/1: Day to meditate for peace throughout the world. [World Peace Day; Universal Hour of Peace: 7:00-8:00 a.m. EST.]

1/1: Day the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect freeing the Confederate slaves (1863); day to mourn African victims of slavery and racism (past and present), make peace, and celebrate empowerment of African Americans. [President Abraham Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation on 9/22/1862.]

1/4: Day ethnic discrimination was outlawed world-wide (1969); day to mourn all manifestations of racism. [Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: signed/adopted 3/7/1966; entered into force 1/4/1969.]

1/15: Feast of the Black Christ. [a/k/a Feast of the Black Christ of Esquipulas, Fiesta Del Senor de Esquipulas] [Originated in Guatemala and celebrated by Catholics in Central America and the Caribbean as well as immigrants and African-Americans in the U.S.] [Pilgrims travel to the Church of the Black Christ of Esquipulas annually during the week leading up to the feast.]

1/15 (Obs.1/21): Birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929), Baptist preacher and non-violent advocate for the rights of African Americans. [Death day 4/4/1968]

1/17: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Ogun, Orisha of Strength, Endurance, and Perseverance.]

1/20: World Religions Day--Day to contemplate all religions as different paths to the one universal Deity of many names and aspects.

1/24: Old Egyptian festival of Neteret Bastet, the Cat Goddess. Her image was transported on a bark on the Nile River from Karnak to Bubastis.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 12/14] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Shefbedet day 29]

1/25: Old Egyptian festival of Neteret Amenet-Rait-Mut, the primordial Great Mother. Her image was transported on a bark on Isheru Lake with other Lion Goddesses.] [Egyptians perceived the many Gods and Goddesses (Neteru) to be aspects of the one God-Goddess Neter-Neteret.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 12/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Shefbedet day 30]

1/26: Beginning of Old Egyptian Proyet/Emergence month of Rekehwer/Mekhir.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure the continuation of order (maat) and life (ankh).] [The Negative Confessions reflect the ethics of the Egyptians.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 12/16] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Rekehwer day 1]

2/1: Day President Abraham Lincoln approved the Constitution's 13th Amendment, outlawing all slavery (1865).] [The 13th Amendment was approved by Congress on 1/31/1865 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 12/18/1865.] [a/k/a National Freedom Day]

2/1 to 2/28: Ethnic Equality Month--Time to honor all peoples and their positive traditions; time to meditate on the equality of all peoples, on the respect due to them, and on God-Goddess manifesting as African, Asian, Oceanic, Middle Eastern, European, Hispanic, and Native American. [Expands idea of African-American History Month a/k/a Black History Month.]

2/2: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Oya, Orisha of Death and Rebirth. Yorubas/Santeros worship the One Deity Olodumare and the Orishas - Olodumare's emanations and messengers.

2/5 to 2/6: Feast of Old Romano-Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Healer--recalls Set (God of Challenges and Chaos) poisoning child God Horus, and Isis intervening, defeating Set, and healing Horus. [Roman calendar]

2/7: Birthday of Frederick Douglass (1817), non-violent advocate for the rights of African Americans. [Death day 2/20/1895]

2/15: Birthday of Susan B. Anthony (1820), non-violent advocate for the rights of women and African Americans. [a/k/a Susan B. Anthony Day] [Death day 3/13/1906]

2/24 to 2/26: Raising Heaven--Old Egyptian Festival honoring the hidden Neteru Amen and Amenet.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 1/14 to 1/16] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Rekehwer day 30 to Rekehnedjes day 2]

2/25: Beginning of Old Egyptian Proyet/Emergence month of Rekehnedjes/Phamenoth.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be peace and harmony throughout the land.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 1/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Rekehnedjes day 1]

2/25: Old Egyptian feast of Neter Ptah, God of Arts and Creativity.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 1/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Rekehnedjes day 1]

3/1 to 3/31: Gender Equality Month--Time to honor both genders; time to meditate on the equality of women and men, on the respect due to both women and men, and on Goddess-God manifesting as woman and man. [Expands idea of Women's History Month.]

3/5: Navigium Isidis--Old Romano-Egyptian festival honoring Goddess Isis as Lady of the Moon and Ruler of the Sea; celebrated with the launching of a boat of offerings. [Also celebrated with a procession to the sea and a procession of ships.] [Roman calendar]

3/9: Day slavery was outlawed world-wide (1927); day to mourn its continued existence. [Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery: signed/adopted 9/25/1926; entered into force 3/9/1927.]

3/10: Death day of Harriet Tubman (1913), who risked her life to guide slaves to freedom. [Birthday unknown]

3/19: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Osanyin, Orisha of Deciduous Vegetation.

3/25: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Oshun, Orisha of Passion and Fertility.]

3/27: Beginning of Old Egyptian Proyet/Emergence month of Paenrenenutet/Pharmouthi, dedicated to Neteret Renenutet and Neter Nepri.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings of food and drink to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that all people had abundant food and drink.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 2/14] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Paenrenenutet day 1]

3/30: Day the Constitution's 15th Amendment went into effect, recognizing the right of all ethnic peoples to vote (1870). [The 15th Amendment was approved by Congress on 2/26/1869 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 3/30/1870.]

3/30 to 3/31: Old Egyptian festival of Neteret Bastet, Goddess of Domestic Harmony. Her image was transported outside the temple on a bark.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 2/17 to 2/18] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Paenrenenutet days 4-5]

4/6: Day the Hutus began genocidal massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda (1994); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Africa. [Over 800,000 were killed.]

4/7: World Health Day--Day to pray for healing of all those chronically and seriously ill; day to advocate for adequate health care for all. [Day the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) was founded in 1948.]

4/20 to 4/26: Old Egyptian festival of Neteret Renenutet (Goddess of the Harvest) and Neter Nepri (God of Grain). A harvest offering was made.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 3/10 to 3/16] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Paenrenenutet day 25 to Paenkhons day 1]

4/22: Earth Day--Day to honor the Earth and to meditate on Deity manifesting as Mother Earth. [a/k/a International Earth Day, National Earth Day]

4/22: Day the world's nations guaranteed asylum to those persecuted in their homelands on account of their ethnicity, religion, or political opinion (1954). [Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees: signed 7/28/1951; entered into force 4/22/1954.]

4/23: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Ogun, Orisha of Orisha of Self-reliance and Industrious Labor. Yorubas/Santeros celebrate with drumming, ecstatic dancing, and possession trance.

4/26: Beginning of Old Egyptian Shomu/Harvest month of Paenkhons/Pakhon.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be good health and long life for all.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 3/16] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Paenkhons day 1]

5/2: National Day of Prayer--Day to pray for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state throughout the world.

5/15: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Ochossi, Orisha of Animals.

5/17: Day the Supreme Court concluded that ethnic-based segregation of schools violates the U.S. Constitution (1954). [Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)]

5/26: Beginning of Old Egyptian Shomu/Harvest month of Khentkhety/Paoni.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be love and happiness for all.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 4/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Khentkhety day 1]

6/21: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Babalu Aye, Guardian of the Disabled.]

6/25: Beginning of Old Egyptian Shomu/Harvest month of Ipet-hemet/Epip.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be security and protection for all.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 5/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Ipet-hemet day 1]

6/29: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Eleggua, Intercessor and Ruler of Destinies. Yorubas/Santeros celebrate with divination and food offerings.

6/30: Vigil for peace, democracy, religious freedom, ethnic equality, and the end of slavery in Sudan - now in the throes of civil war. [Since 1983, when Islamic law was adopted in Sudan, civil war has pitted Arab Muslims against African Christians and animists. As a result, over 2 million have died, most through forced starvation. Government troops have been accused of torture, rape, enslavement, and the murder of women and children. On 6/30/1989, a military coup by Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir brought authoritarian rule to Sudan. In 1991, Islamic law was imposed on non-Muslims in the areas within his control.]

7/1: Day endangered species became internationally protected (1975); day to celebrate all the world's creatures. [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: signed/adopted 3/3/1973; entered into force 7/1/1975.]

7/2: Day discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, and religion was prohibited in public accommodations and employment (1964). [The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.] [Pub. L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, 42 U.S.C. 2000a et seq.]

7/9: Old Egyptian festival of Neteru Amen (God of Transcendent Powers) and Hapi (God of the Nile River); offerings were made to ensure the needed flooding of the Nile River.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 5/29] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Ipet-hemet day 15]

7/18: Day South Africa's apartheid was internationally outlawed (1976); birthday of Nelson Mandela, non-violent anti-apartheid activist. [Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid: signed/adopted 11/30/1973; entered into force 7/18/1976.]

7/24: Old Egyptian feast of Neteret Hathor, Goddess of Love and Fertility.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 6/13] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Ipet-hemet day 30]

7/25: Beginning of Old Egyptian Shomu/Summer month of Mesut-Ra/Mesori, dedicated to Neteru Ra and Rait.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be strength and freedom for all.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 6/14] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Mesut-Ra day 1]

7/28: Day the Constitution's 14th Amendment went into effect, guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the law to all (1868). [The 14th Amendment was approved by Congress on 6/13/1866 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 7/28/1868.]

8/2: Feast of the Black Madonna. [a/k/a Feast of the Virgin of the Angels]

8/6: Day the Voting Rights Act became law (1965) - register to vote! [The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.] [Pub. L. 89-110, 79 Stat. 437, 42 U.S.C. 1973 et seq.]

8/24: Feast of Old Egyptian God Osiris - partner and true love of Isis, and father of Horus; guide of all husbands, fathers, and judges. [Old Egyptian birthday feast of Neter Osiris.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 7/14] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Epagomenal day 1]

8/25: Old Egyptian birthday feast of Neter Horus the Elder, lover of Neteret Hathor.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 7/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Epagomenal day 2]

8/26: Old Egyptian birthday feast of Neter Set, God of the Desert.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar7/16] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Epagomenal day 3]

8/27: Feast of Old Egyptian Goddess Isis - partner and true love of Osiris, and mother of Horus; guide of all wives, mothers, healers, advocates, and teachers. [Old Egyptian birthday feast of Neteret Isis.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 7/17] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Epagomenal day 4]

8/28: Old Egyptian birthday feast of Neteret Nepthys, estranged wife of Neter Set.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 7/18] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Epagomenal day 5]

8/28: Day of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s peaceful march on Washington, D.C., for recognition of the rights of African Americans (1963). [Rev. King made his inspiring "I have a dream" speech at this rally.]

8/28: Opening of the Second World Parliament of Religions (1993), attended by members of all the world's religions. A Global Ethic was adopted that condemns hatred, aggression, oppression, and environmental abuses committed in the name of religion.

8/29: Old Egyptian birthday feast of Neteru Ra and Rait, Deities of the Sun.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 7/19] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Tekh day 1]

8/29 to 9/11: Old Egyptian festival marking the return to Egypt of Goddess Isis (as the star of Septet/Sirius) and God Osiris (as the star of Sahu/Orion), and the rains that inundate the Nile River. [Old Egyptian New Year; beginning of Akhet/Inundation month of Tekh/Thout, dedicated to Neter Thoth (God of Time).] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 7/19 to 8/1] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Tekh days 1-14] [9/11 is also the Coptic New Year.]

9/3: Day gender discrimination was outlawed world-wide (1981); day to mourn all manifestations of sexism. [Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: adopted by U.N. General Assembly 12/18/1979; signed 3/1/1980; entered into force 9/3/1981.]

9/8: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Oshun, Orisha of Love and Compassion.

9/12: Old Egyptian festival of Neteru Amen (God of Transcendent Powers) and Hapi (God of the Nile River); offerings were made to ensure the needed flooding of the Nile River.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 8/2] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Tekh day 15]

9/15 to 9/16: Old Egyptian Wag Festival, honoring the dead and Neter Osiris (Lord of Amenta, realm of the dead). Food was brought to the tombs and shared with the dead.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 8/5 to 8/6] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Tekh days 18-19]

9/16 to 9/17: Old Egyptian festival of Neter Thoth, God of Knowledge and Wisdom.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 8/6 to 8/7] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Tekh days 19-20]

9/19: Old Egyptian Great Procession of Neter Osiris. The image of Osiris was transported on a bark to the tombs.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 8/9] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Tekh day 22]

9/21: International Day of Peace--Day to demonstrate for peace with justice throughout the world. [a/k/a U.N. International Day of Peace]

9/24: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Obatala, Orisha of Peace and Justice.

9/28: Beginning of Old Egyptian Akhet/Inundation month of Menkhet/Paopi, dedicated to Neteru Amen-Ra-Atem and Amenet-Rait-Mut.] [Priests and priestesses read hymns of thanksgiving to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses).] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 8/18] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Menkhet day 1]

9/29: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Eleggua, Intercessor and Ruler of Destinies.]

9/30: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Shango, Orisha of Passion and Virility.]

10/4: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orunmila, Orisha of Wise Counsel and Protection.

10/12 to 10/22: Old Egyptian Opet Festival, honoring Neteru Amen-Ra-Atem and Amenet-Rait-Mut. The pharaoh went to the Luxor Temple at Thebes in order to have his authority to rule recognized.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 9/1 to 9/11] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Menkhet days 15-25]

10/18: Day the Clean Water Act was enacted (1972); day to give thanks for the water we drink. [Pub. L. 92-500, 86 Stat. 896, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.]

10/24: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Erinle, Healer of the Sick and Injured.

[* 10/28: Beginning of Old Egyptian Akhet/Inundation month of Het-Hert/Athor, dedicated to Neteret Hathor.] [Priests and priestesses danced and played sistra, tambourines, and menat in honor of the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses).] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 9/17] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Het-Hert day 1]

10/28 to 11/3: Isia--Old Romano-Egyptian festival recalling Set (God of Destruction) killing God Osiris; Goddess Isis mourning Him, resurrecting Him, and conceiving God Horus with Him; and Osiris becoming Lord of Amenta, realm of the dead. [He weighs souls against the Feather of Truth on Goddess Maat's Scale of Justice, but defers to Isis for those who fail the test.] [Roman calendar]

11/1: World Community Day--Day for celebrating the unity behind diversity and remembering we are all one people - all children of the one universal Deity of many names and aspects.

11/1 to 11/2: Fon/Vodou feast of Ghede, Loa of the Dead; time for honoring ancestral spirits. Fon/Vodouisants believe all Loas (Deities) originate from Co-Creators Goddess-God Mawu-Lisa.

11/3: Christian feast of St. Martin of Porres (d. 1639), healer and advocate of social equality and inter-ethnic harmony; guide of healers and human rights activists.

11/5: Old Egyptian festival of Neteru Amen-Ra-Atem and Amenet-Rait-Mut. Their images were transported on a bark from Karnak to Luxor.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 9/25] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Het-Hert day 9]

11/21: Fast for an Abundant World Harvest--Day to fast and commit to action to help prevent deaths from malnourishment world-wide. [a/k/a Fast for a World Harvest]

[* 11/25: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Oya, Orisha of Death and Rebirth.]

11/26: Death day of Sojourner Truth (1883), Christian preacher and non-violent advocate for the rights of women and African Americans. [Born 1797: exact date unknown]

11/27: Beginning of Old Egyptian Akhet/Inundation month of Nehebkau/Khoiak, dedicated to Neteru Isis and Osiris.] [Priests and priestesses made offerings of incense, holy water, and perfumed oils to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses).] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 10/17] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Nehebkau day 1]

11/27: Old Egyptian feast of Neteret Hathor, Goddess of Fate.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 10/17] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Nehebkau day 1]

11/28: Thanksgiving Day--Day to give thanks for the abundance of our land and for our food, clothes, shelter, and health.

12/1: World AIDS Day--Day to pray for healing of all those suffering with AIDS and HIV.

12/4: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Shango, Defender Against Evil.

12/8 to 12/26: Old Egyptian Sokar Festival/Khoiak Ceremonies. It commemorates Neteret Isis seeking out and finding the scattered remains of Neter Osiris.] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic 10/28 to 11/15] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Nehebkau days 12-30]

12/10: Day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, and fundamental rights were recognized world-wide (1948). [The U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U.D.H.R.) in Resolution 217 A(III).] [a/k/a International Human Rights Day]

12/15: Day the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution, guaranteeing fundamental rights to all (1791). [a/k/a Bill of Rights Day]

12/17: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Babalu Aye, Healer of Deadly Diseases.

12/17: Day the Clean Air Act was enacted (1963); day to give thanks for the air we breathe. [Pub. L. 88-206, 77 Stat. 392, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.]

12/18: Day the Constitution's 13th Amendment went into effect, outlawing all slavery (1865). [The 13th Amendment was approved by Congress on 1/31/1865 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 12/18/1865.]

12/21 to 12/25: Old Romano-Egyptian festival of Goddess Isis giving birth to God Horus. [Roman calendar]

12/26 to 1/1: Kwanzaa--Festival celebrating positive African traditions; emphasizes unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

12/27: Beginning of Old Egyptian Proyet/Emergence month of Shefbedet/Tobi.] [Priests and priestesses read hymns of praise to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses).] [Alexandrian calendar] [Kemetic calendar 11/16] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Shefbedet day 1]

12/31: Yoruba/Santeria festival of Orisha Yemaya, Mother of the Sun and Moon.

[Santeria is a syncretism of the West African religion of the Yoruba (Nigerian) people (Yoruba religion) with Catholicism. Santeria, like other African Spirituality, is grounded in Nature and its rhythms. The Santeria Orishas reflect the powers of Nature and virtues. Santeria holidays are Yoruba holidays affixed to the feast days of the Catholic saints that the Santeria Orishas are identified with. Consequently, the Santeria calendar is based on the Catholic calendar. Similarly, Vodun (Voodoo) is a syncretism of the West African Fon (Dahoman) religion with Catholicism. Both are practiced in the Caribbean and in the United States.]

Possession in Haitian and New Orleans vodou and Santeria is described as a god seizing a horse (the human being) who is ridden, sometimes to exhaustion or death. The all powerful God is both distant and close, but too great to concern him/herself with humans, instead delegating the mediating task to the spirits (the lwa). There are hundreds of lwa, who may be the protective spirits of clans or tribes from Africa, or deified ancestors. Some are conceptualised in human form such as Papa Legba, the old man who guards gates and crossroads and is invoked at the beginning of every service. Others are less tangible like Gran Bwa, who is the spirit of the forest and trees. The lwa are grouped into families, called nations, which are divided by different rituals. Each ritual has distinctive ceremonies, dances, rhythms, and type of offering.

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 Kreyòl 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 Priyè 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. 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 the wee hours of the 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 sèvitè/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, a clear glass of water, and, perhaps, flowers. On a particular spirit’s day, one lights a candle and says a prayer, 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.

Mardi Gras Beads And Voodoo

The New Orleans season of merriment begins each year on January 6, the Epiphany holiday which comes twelve days after Christmas on the day many cultures celebrate the three kings presentation of gifts to the Christ Child. Phunny Phorty Phellows hunble start March 5th, 1878. The modern organization was revived in 1981 by a small group of friends and Mardi Gras enthusiasts. It has continued without interruption to the present day.

There is a diversity of practice in Vodou across the country of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Everywhere in Haiti, the vast majority of Vodouisants are not initiates, just as in most Christian communities the majority of church members are not clergy. Everywhere in Haiti congregations may form around a charismatic individual who, while not initiated, can call the lwa, or Vodou spirits, and do effective work. This phenomenon is more common in the north of Haiti. In the central Artibonite region, another denomination of Haitian traditional religion called "Makaya", is very popular. And everywhere in Haiti, the "true" or orthodox Vodou lineage, maintained through initiatory lineage, is present. The emblem of the priesthood in Vodou is the "asson", a beaded rattle which is used to lead songs, control Vodou spirits, and indicate rank and function within a congregation.

Some individuals claim that "there is no singular, definitive form, only what is right in a particular house or lineage". This is because the individual has not learned to distinguish between an independent peristyle (temple), a Mamkaya house, and a Vodou peristyle led by a Houngan or Mambo asogwe (initiate at the highest grade.) In each tradition, there are some things which are required and some things which are expressly forbidden. Likewise, in Vodou the initiatory passwords are the same in every house - if it were not so, what use would they be?

Within the framework of the requirements of the Vodou tradition, there is room for creativity, and thus it is true that small details of service and the spirits served will vary from house to house. There central authority of orthodox Vodou is the oral tradition which transmits the precepts given by the lwa Papa Loko Atisou, the lwa who confers the asson and thus the highest grade of priesthood.

Many other rites other than those of initiation are performed in Vodou, and all except those of initiation can be performed anywhere in the world. Although initiation into Haitian Vodou can only be performed in Haiti, other ceremonies such as the 'lave tet' (a ceremonial washing of the head', and dances or services for the lwa or the ancestors, are often performed by Vodouisants in the USA, in Europe, and other parts of the world.

Many of the slaves brought to Hispaniola from northern and central Africa in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries practiced Voodoo. But the colony's slave code required all slaves to be baptized as Christians. This forced conversion had a big influence Voodoo. Since slaves could not observe their religion openly, they borrowed many elements from Catholicism to protect their own spiritual practice. This process, known as syncretization, strongly influenced voodoo in Haiti:

The names of Catholic saints became the names of loa. In many cases, the loa's role reflected that of the corresponding saint. For example, Saint Peter holds the keys to the kingdom of Heaven and corresponds to the loa Papa Legba, who is the spirit world's gatekeeper.

Christian crosses became symbols for the crossroads, which represents life-altering choices and steps in the spiritual path for followers of Voodoo.
Catholic hymns and prayers became part of Voodoo services.
Several other influences affected Voodoo as well, including the traditions of the local Taino tribes.

The resulting form of Voodoo is a creolized religion, made up of influences from many other religions. But in spite of these additions, Haitian Voodoo strongly resembles African Voodoo. Priestesses, known as mambos, and priests, known as houngans, conduct religious services and provide traditional folk remedies. People who wish to become mambos or houngans often enter an apprenticeship as initiates with other leaders rather than joining a large-scale worship center. Many ceremonies take place in a structure called a honfour, which serves as a temple or sanctuary.

As in Africa, possession is an important part of Voodoo in Haiti and New Orleans. The person being possessed is often called a horse who is ridden by the possessing loa. The possessed person may move unnaturally, speak in unknown languages or make clear, direct statements to the other followers. Sacrifice is also important, and many ceremonies involve sacrificing goats, chickens or other animals. In many cases, the combination of possession, animal sacrifice and the ritual dancing and music that accompany them can seem dramatic or even frightening to outside observers. Voodoo ceremonies may have played a part in other slave uprisings during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For example, a slave called Gullah Jack, considered to be a conjurer, helped plan a slave rebellion in South Carolina.

The service or voodoo ceremony
These take place to mark religious holidays, to satisfy a particular spirit, or at the request of an individual or family who pay for the expenses. No ceremony completely resembles another one of its kind, for each priest/priestess has his or her favourite rites and special features. Some of the congregation are initiates (ounsi), who dress in white, and are charged with singing and dancing. The priest/priestess directs the unfolding ceremony, beginning with a litany of saints, prayers and hymns from the Catholic religion, the marking of the four cardinal points, and the drawing on the ground of the symbolic vèvè. Then the spirits are invoked, the drums roll, and the ounsi dance. If a spirit arrives, it will often 'possess' a believer, briefly using their body as an instrument of self-expression. Each spirit will manifest itself in a certain way, consistent with their individual attributes. Once 'awakened', the possessed person remembers nothing of the event.

A Very Rare New Orleans Marie Laveau Voodoo Curio




It’s safe to assume that everyone has heard about voodoo dolls and thinks they’ve pretty much grasped the concept. After all, what could be more simple? A little cloth cut to look like a person, a little stuffing (preferably some rotting Spanish moss), some twine, a Sharpie marker to make the features, and a big box of shiny new pins can provide hours of nasty, furtive fun to the discontented or just mischief-minded among us.

Or, perhaps you’ve encountered them dressed in Mardi Gras hues, complete with feathers and primitive features, glued to magnets and grinning from the refrigerator door as a little memento of a visit to New Orleans.

But is this all that’s behind the mystique and seduction of these popular little creatures? Mostly harmless and merely decorative?






Find voodoo books------> HERE NOW!

Let us help you find your
Most “Haunted America Tours” destinations!