Haitians Make Yearly Voodoo Pilgrimage

AP, April 9, 2007

Every year in early April, scores of Voodoo followers flock to a dusty village and surrender themselves to the spirits in a pilgrimage marked by drumming, chanting and animal sacrifices.

Wrapped in white satin scarves, hundreds of pilgrims from across Haiti made the journey this year to Souvenance, 90 miles north of Port-au-Prince, for a five-day cycle of ceremonies that culminated Sunday.

Voodoo is the underpinning of Haitian culture, offering an array of gods for believers, style and subject matter for artists and for some politicians a means of controlling the people.

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Voodoo is one of Haiti’s three constitutionally recognized religions, along with Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

A large number of Voodoo priests, or “oungons,” worked closely with Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude during the 29-year family dictatorship that ended in 1986.

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