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Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006
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Voodou or Voodoo

With the terrible tragedy that happened in Haiti, there has been some mention of the Voodou or Voodoo religion of this county. I naively thought Voodoo was some sort of black magic where people stuck pins in dolls to harm their enemies or wandered around like zombies. Now I see that this is a serious and legitimate religion that is a combination of native African religions and Catholicism.

 

I checked it out on Wikipedia.  Does anyone know anything about this religion?

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: Voodou or Voodoo

Purly from an outsider point of view. I've been to a voodoo ceremony and and voodun funeral. Know enough to follow the gist of a conversation about this or that loa. But I recognize large gaps in my knowlege of it.

Distinguished Correspondent
Joseph_F
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎03-05-2009
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Re: Voodou or Voodoo

In August, we discussed the book The Serpent And The Rainbow  by Wade Davis.

 

Link to thread here: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Religion-Spirituality/August-book-The-Serpent-and-the-Rainbow...

 

Vodou is probably the single most misunderstood religion in the world.It is a well-organized religion that is the reason Haiti has managed to keep any semblence of an organized society through the poverty and tragedies that have stuck them over and over and over.

 

I cannot recommend this book enough for providing some basis of understanding of the vodou religoin and culture. It's an understanding I wish more people had.

 

Inspired Correspondent
CharlieG31
Posts: 257
Registered: ‎01-06-2010
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Re: Voodou or Voodoo

The problem that you read in Haiti right  now with Voodoo is that people have their traditions just like in any religion but because of the excessive number of corpses people don't want to bury their loved ones until they go through the voodoo ritual which can become a serious health problem , just imagine corpses on the sidewalks exposed to the sun the whole day , not a very healthy way of controlling the spreading of diseases, that is the main problem with voodoo right now in Haiti.

"The questions are more essential than the answers."
Karl Theodor Jaspers

Distinguished Correspondent
Joseph_F
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎03-05-2009
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Re: Voodou or Voodoo

Well, in most cultures people are hesitant to bury loved ones without some sort of funeral service. That's certainly not unique to vodou. I have never heard of there being a long wait for funerals in Haiti. Do you have some sort of source for that?

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: Voodou or Voodoo

Tradition requires a 3 day death watch not modernly unembalmed, so the spirit has time to leave to leave the body.

Frequent Contributor
soylentgeek
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-26-2009
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Re: Voodou or Voodoo


CharlieG31 wrote:

The problem that you read in Haiti right  now with Voodoo is that people have their traditions just like in any religion but because of the excessive number of corpses people don't want to bury their loved ones until they go through the voodoo ritual which can become a serious health problem , just imagine corpses on the sidewalks exposed to the sun the whole day , not a very healthy way of controlling the spreading of diseases, that is the main problem with voodoo right now in Haiti.


Actually it's not the bodies all around that are the greatest threat to health at this point in Haiti. It's that they don't have clean water, sewage, or sanitation to carry away human waste. The diseases that reside in and can make people ill don't survive long after the host dies, so while very unpleasant to look at and to smell (especially in the heat), you're not at any increased risk of catching a disease from bodies being around as long as you're observing some simple sanitation and hygeine rules. You're not going to want to drink water that has decomposition happening in it, or to be handling the bodies without protecting yourself from the rats and other scavengers, but the bodies themselves aren't all that dangerous.
It's more important to not dump bodies by the thousands in mass graves out of a misplaced fear of pathogens, but to try to identify the dead so that people will actually know what became of their loved ones. Aside from that, the survivors need clean water, food, medicine and sanitation (particularly sewage) as those all have a much, much greater effect on controlling the spread of disease than the presence of corpses.