Vodou Gaining Popularity in United States

Written by Reuters

Tuesday, 17 May 2011 12:22

NEW YORK, USA - Often maligned or misunderstood by the West, for years, many people in the U.S. have practiced vodou underground for fear of harassment. This report says it is gaining popularity in New York City.

Late Saturday night (May 14), inside a home on a quiet street in New York City's Brooklyn neighborhood of Mill Basin, about an hour from Midtown Manhattan, about 50 people have gathered to celebrate an ancient vodou tradition. Inside the home's basement, the walls are painted a tropical bright blue and colorful plastic flags hang from the ceiling.

Ladies dance, chant, and try to summon the spirits as drummers lead the ceremony with vibrant rhythms while sitting in front of the flags of Haiti and the United States.

On this night, they are there to honor Saint Isidore, or Kouzen Zaka, the patron lwa (spirit) of farmers. He is also associated with work and many believe Kouzen Zaka can help protect their jobs.

Vodou is regaining popularity

The ceremony takes place in front of a bamboo-lined altar adorned with various vegetables, grains, and a statue of Saint Isidore.

The host for the evening, Manbo Asogwe (female high priest) Rosie Lamonthe described the ceremony.

They celebrate with dances, chants, assson (gourd covered galss beads), bells, and candles.

Lamonthe said, in the U.S., vodou ceremonies are often held in people's homes late at night as not to interfere with people's work schedules.

Lamonthe said she has a temple in Haiti, but in New York, her home is her temple.

She urged people to learn more about the tradition.
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