Thursday, May 26, 2011

UNITED STATES - voodoo ceremonies in the basement of Brooklyn

It's 3 o'clock in the morning. In a dark cellar in Brooklyn, Jack Laroche, a computer engineer from Haiti, nervously awaits his bride, a voodoo spirit Ezili named Freda who has the power to give love and wealth. While four men beat drums in rhythm, voodoo priestesses dressed in colorful robes dancing in circles ecstatic, sprinkling the ground with rum and chanting "Ayibobo!" - The voodoo Amen.

The bride made a spectacular entrance: one of the priestesses, wearing a sparkling pink dress, was taken to violent shaking, his eyes roll upward and she fainted when she returns to her, she is possessed by Ezili Freda . She takes the hand of Mr. Laroche, suck on her ear with coquetry, then the happy couple exchange their consent in French.

Long misunderstood and misperceived by Western popular culture, voodoo became a spiritual guide Haitian enclaves in the United States. His followers are seeking solace after the devastating earthquake which hit Haiti last year. New York has 300 000 people born in Haiti or born in the United States to Haitian parents.

There are voodoo temples elaborately decorated in the basement of Harlem and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Voodoo prayer circles have proliferated in the months that followed the earthquake in Haiti. Desir Dowoti studied Haitian voodoo and a temple in her home in Harlem. "The followers of voodoo hide for fear of being persecuted," she says.

But the truth is that Voodoo has been a help and support for generations of Haitians. "Laroche, 35, who started on his thirty-one her marriage, decided to marry his wife to assert its spiritual culture, career advancement and protection against misfortune. "Some people mistakenly think that those who practice voodoo can turn their friends in goats, says he.

But the voodoo is reconnecting with the past. "Voodoo is a religion of healing and was brought to Haiti by slaves from West and Central Africa. Adherents commune with a god - Gran Met - in worshiping the Ioas, powerful spirits and sometimes irascible, which govern love, morality, reproduction and death.

According to researchers, half of all Haitians practice voodoo in some form or another, often in conjunction with Catholicism. Since this religion is practiced in secret and it attaches great importance to the spirits, spells and sacrifices animals, she is stigmatized and regarded as primitive.

However, voodoo plays a central role in Haiti's history: he allows people to endure the oppression, poverty and natural disasters. Just as the clergy of other religions administer sacraments through finance, mambo, voodoo priests and priestesses, charge for their services, partly to finance the expensive tastes of certain spirits Ezili Freda, for example, likes the pink champagne.

Prices range from $ 300 for a recipe designed to make someone mad love to 5000 dollars for an exorcism in good and due form. Mr. Laroche said to have paid 10,000 dollars for his wedding, a price he says more than justified by the benefits that the goodwill of the spirits will tell him. Aspiring mambos usually do their apprenticeship with an experienced mentor, and sometimes it takes five years to master the various rituals of voodoo, "says Desir.

She herself chose years ago to study to become a mambo rather than continue his studies in anthropology. Her mother was Catholic, was appalled, "Ms. Desir. "Personally, I do not hide that I am voodoo priestess, says she. "My role is not to create love potions, but to help people reconnect with the original African culture." For Mr.

Laroche, who arrived in New York at the age of 5 years , voodoo is a link to the family home in Port-au-Prince [Haiti's capital]. He sees no contradiction to handle an iPhone and marry a voodoo spirit. During the ceremony, he decided to celebrate his wedding with his girlfriend. It has no reason to be jealous: she herself married Ogou, a manly spirit cigar smoker who gives strength and protection.

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