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This episode is an introduction to the Haitian Vodou Religion and an overview on prominent Loas from Erzuile and Papa Legba to Ayida-Weddo and Agwé

*Disclaimer - these are the notes we wrote for this episode of the podcast - there will be spelling and grammatical errors, there will also be some informal language. Further research is encouraged 😀


Vodou is deeply rooted in the religions of the Dahomean, Kongo, Yoruba, and other African ethnic groups. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, these traditions were brought to the French colony of Saint-Domingue which became the republic of Haiti by enslaved Africans. The mixing of different West African traditional religions and the influence of the French colonists' Roman Catholicism resulted in the diasporic religion we now know as Vodou. This blend has created a rich spiritual practice encompassing philosophy, medicine, justice, and religion.

The cult of the dead plays a significant role in Vodou, serving as a connection to African religious and cultural traditions and a foundation for new practices developed in response to slavery. Slaves believed that upon death, they would return to Africa, and rituals were designed to re-establish this connection. Over time, Vodou has been shaped by the experiences of slavery, resistance, and the quest for freedom, with the religion playing a key role in the Haitian Revolution of 1791. This event, marked by a Vodou ceremony led by Dutty Boukmann, ignited a slave revolt that ultimately contributed to the establishment of Haiti as a nation.

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Adwoa Botchey