A Creole is a term used to describe a person or a language. A creole person is a person of mixed European and black descent, especially in the Caribbean. A creole language is a mother tongue formed from the contact of two languages through an earlier pidgin stage. Haiti is an island in the Caribbean that is comprised of two distinct classes characterized by Creoles and people of African descent. Haitian Kreyol was a language that was developed by the slaves of the French colony of Haiti, they wanted to communicate without the French understanding them. Not only is the island of Haiti populated by Creoles that speak Kreyol, they also practice what could be called a “creole” religion. This same desire to communicate freely under brutal colonization is what allowed vodou to flourish in even the darkest of Haiti’s history by accepting rather than denying the influence of religions.
Haiti is the home of Caribbean Vodou. In Haiti, vodou originally referred to one ritual style among many in their syncretic religious systems. The word vodou is derived from the Fon word vodun, meaning “god” or “spirit.” Haitians refer to vodou as “serving the spirits.” Though vodou was brought to Haiti from western Africa during the slave trade, the two religions have since evolved independently of each other. Haitians still refer to the west coast of Africa as their home and it’s essentially the “mecca” of their gods as it is believed to be the watery subterranean home of vodou spirits. Many parallels still exist between Haitian vodou and Yoruba vodou of west Africa. In the article Vodou by Karen McCarthy Brown she gives the example of the vodou spirit Ogun. Ogun in Yoruba is a spirit of ironsmithing and other activities associated with ...
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...ance in the pure waters. After the earthquake in 2010 many Haitians made the pilgrimage, regardless of their religion, to ask for the restoration of their properties and homes. Haitians have travelled to the same spot for hundreds of years to bathe because the virgin saint is believed to have appeared on a palm tree there in 1847. This is another display of the longevity of the Haitian vodou rituals.
In a world where so many of our cultures and religions are lost during colonization and war vodou has prevailed. I believe that is due to the very nature of vodou. The religion isn’t very organized, it doesn’t exclude anyone or anything, and it doesn’t require a lot of rare objects. Perhaps the trait that sets vodou apart from other religions is its ability to borrow the deities of neighbors and enemies alike. This ability truly makes Haitian vodou a “creole” religion.
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