Denis Vejas

Culture Voodoo Celebration 2017
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Voodoo is an official religions in Benin, practiced by around 40 percent of the local population. In local ewe language, voodoo (Vodoun) means ‘spirit’.
Each year, at the beginning of January, various West African voodoo sects are gathering at the coastal town of Ouidah, Benin, to share their religious practices.
The main celebration takes place on the beach called “The doors of no return” (La Porte du Non-Retour) . It’s the place where the slaves were originally shipped from and voodoo have spread into the Caribbean, parts of Brazil and Louisiana (USA).
It’s a system of animistic beliefs, where spirits of animals and natural elements (water, earth, fire, wind) play as a link between the living and the dead. The spirits are considered to be the manifestations of god Mawu and his helpers Orishas.
Different orishas representing different part of our human body and vibrates different energies. In situations of need, locals call upon specific orisha to possess their bodies and guide them through difficult times.
Throughout the varieties of practices, rituals, and spectacles - using palm oil, locally brewed gin, ceremonial dancing, and a number of local ingredients with unpronounceable names, the participants self-hypnotize themselves into a trance, surrendering their bodies to be possessed by good spirits or vice-versa — performing the rituals of exorcism for those, who are believed to be possessed by the evil ones.

Ouida, Benin

This project is a part of broader series 'Africa: B&W' exploring the relationship between Africans and visitors as a consequences of colonialism.

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