African Voodoo

Ancestral voodoo rites in Ghana, Togo Benin, Jan 2012

In Ghana, Togo and Benin religion followed by most of the population is the Voodoo. The objects for the rites can be found in the fetish market of Ouidah and will then be blessed by a fetichero. The most important part of the ceremonies is the dance accompanied by the sound of the drums that often involves elaborate masks. The Zangbeto masks for example resemble colored haystacks dancing to the rhythm of the drums turning on themselves wildly twirling. In other villages, the wild rhythm of the drums, the spirits take possession of the dancers who fall into a trance. In this way the Voodoo spirit temporarily replaces the human spirit and can give advice, prophecies or punishment. The dancers have their faces painted with bright colors, often use the yellow, to ward off negative spirits. Them will instead gather at night around a fire. Initiates the dance begin to pace the tam tam. Some dancers throw themselves into the fire, they take it in hand, go all over the body and swallow, without reporting any burn or give signs of distress. This ritual dance is meant to drive away evil spirits thus protecting the whole village. In Benin villages are instead protected by pythons, giant but harmless, they are left to handle not only the guardians of temples, but also by the faithful who venerate them. Voodoo ritual Goro involves animal sacrifice. The head fetichero listen to problems of the inhabitants of the village and then, with great calmness, he blindfolds the chosen beast and slaughters. Other officiating, sitting on the ground in a circle, dig a hole to catch the blood. You must carefully observe the movements of the animals feet: if they die with their limbs turned to the sky, you can be assured that a good spirit dominates the village