Fedelia was desperately willing herself to breathe. Calming her heart was going terribly and her eyes could not stop wandering to the crowd gathering around the stage and lingered on the sea. Her jittery demeanor became apparent to the more seasoned dancers and each attempted to alleviate her anxiety. But nothing worked; and the strong smell of the sea did not help her weak state. She was about to dance the Parigol. It is an unfamiliar word to some but treasured to many. Dance has always been an important part of Haiti, it brings fractured families together, celebrates history, and invokes spirits in religious rituals. Parigol is in the third category and is believed to actually be inspired by the Goddess of the Ocean, La Sirene. As a Goddess of the Ocean she is described as powerful, nurturing, and prone to reveal one’s inner qualities. The Parigol’s powerful movements reflect that. There can be no faltering. Being chosen to dance the Parigol was important and failing was not an option for her.
When my grandmother was originally approached to dance she felt anxious. Rightfully so, from my understanding the Parigol and dancing is an important part of her worship. At first she was so anxious she wanted someone else to take her place. But, she later felt compelled to do it like it was something she had to do so her only option was to get ready for the dance. The process did not take long but she stated that was enjoyable all thanks to a Mrs. Derival. She was a tiny woman with an ever present frown but who seemed to always have a twinkle in her eye. She was coached on every single part of the dance, even on how to enter. My grandmother laughing had even got up and showed me a small bit of the dance.
For a long time I had been large...
... middle of paper ...
...t they look down upon. This is a common misconception about magic that I used to believe as well but through interviewing my grandmother and other previous experiences my beliefs now align with the lessons learned from class.
From what I have heard “magic” is seen as an essential part of many Haitians lives. Similar to other religions altars and rituals are a part of the religion. But, through misconceptions when Vodou is mentioned it is often seen as “primitive” and irrational compared to other religions. Despite the fact that other religions also feature altars and devotional rituals. What makes this religion seen as behind compared to others? My belief from the American point of view is that because Protestantism and Christianity is in the majority and their view of magic is mostly Hollywood magic with drama and instant results it taints the view of other cultures.
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