Spirits in Vodou are known as Loa; Catholic Saints lithographs are used to represent them. During slavery in Haiti, white french masters forbade the slaves from pursuing Vodou as a religion and anyone caught practicing any religion other than Catholicism were severely punished. The slaves, still deeply attached to their African roots, were obliged to use Catholic Saint Image during Vodou ceremonies, pretending to be praying to them while deep in their heart they were praying to their African gods. This is the main characteristic that differentiate the Vodou that is practiced in Haiti and in Africa. Over 400 years have passed, but the tradition strangely still remain today; it is so deeply rooted in the religion that it is almost impossible to even imagine Haitian Vodou without the representation of the Loas with Catholic Saints' images.  


Posted by Hougansydney.com on Sunday, October 5, 2014 Under: religion


Although not invoked first, Damballah is the father of all the Loas. He is the archetypal wise Loa, the patriarchal serpent divinity, associated with wisdom, peace, purity, benevolence, life and innocence. 
Damballah is highly respected and is one of the most revered African gods. Along with his companion Ayida W
èdo, the rainbow serpent, he is viewed as the Loa of creation.
Ceremonies for Damballah and/or Ayida W
èdo are extremely particular and highly elaborate, and all rules must be followed to the letters. First, everyone in the assistance must entirely be dressed with freshly clean, immaculate white clothes, women are to have their head tied with silk white scarves. It is very common for people to be asked to leave the temple if they're not in proper attire when Damballah is expected. Smoking, and alcoholic consumption are strictly forbidden. After many sacred African litanies, Damballah will finally come in possession. As a snake, he doesn't have feet; the possessed immediately falls on the ground; undulating just like a snake to get by; does not talk, but only makes hissing and whistling noises. It is believed that his wisdom is too preeminent for us mortals to be expressed through words.
 Damballah is not a very demanding Loa in terms of offerings; usually a hen egg placed on a mound of flour, along a bottle of  white anisette syrup or honey. A clean white bed sheet usually covers his head while he consumes his offerings.
Damballah is associated with the biblical figure Moses and, the Catholic Saint Patrick, in consideration of his affiliation with snakes.
Alternatives: Damballah Wèdo, Damballah Laflanbo (Damballah the torch),
Damballah Tokan (intelligent snake),Odan (wisdom and endless life), Pyè Damballah.
Color: White

In : religion 

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