Candomblé is a unique African-Brazilian religion that most people do not know about. The religious belief was developed by people who were taken captive and transported from Africa to Brazil. These are people who suffered at the hands of the slave trade. Candomblé is a mix of the Bantu, Fon, and Yoruba beliefs. Each of these traditional religions has roots in Africa. As time passed by in the New World, Candomblé started to incorporate some Catholic faith elements. The belief translates as dance in honor of the gods. It includes dance and music in its ceremonies.
The Queen of Voodoo: The Legend of Marie Laveau
Anyone interested in New Orleans and its history of voodoo is bound to come across the name “Marie Laveau.” Considered a voodoo queen, you might be wondering if she is as mystical as she is typically portrayed. New Orleans is a city that perfectly mixes the Old World with the New. Most of its residents believe in the supernatural. The legend of Marie Laveau is a popular one. She was a black priestess who possessed breathtaking beauty.
Marie Laveau held great power in her community. There are countless rumors of her magical abilities. People visit her grave even today in exchange for a small request and leave tokens. It is impossible to overlook voodoo when we talk about New Orleans. Most people are influenced by the pop-culture perception of voodoo which holds that dolls and zombies are at the heart of voodoo beliefs. However, it is essential to understand that voodoo is a compilation of various West African religions. Religions brought to the Americas by slaves with traditions of indigenous people and the Christianity they adopted. There is more to Marie Laveau than the legend might make you believe.
Born in 1801 to a wealthy mulatto businessman by Charles Laveau and a freed slave by the name of Marguerite, Marie Laveau was the first free person in her family. Her great-grandmother had arrived in New Orleans in 1743 as a slave. Eventually, her grandmother, Catherine, was bought by Francoise Pomet, a successful entrepreneur of color and free woman. She managed to buy her own freedom and established a small home where she went on to have Marie, her granddaughter.
During the 1800s, it was common for free blacks to buy slaves. Laveau even had a few slaves despite being an important figure in the black community and a rather charitable woman. She had a brief marriage with a free mixed black man, after which she had had a relationship with Cristophe Glapion, a noble, white Louisianian man for thirty years. Interracial relationships were a thing in New Orleans during the time, even though there were forbidden to marry by law.
For most of her life, Marie remained a Catholic, and voodoo had no place. Nevertheless, she accepted voodoo, and her front room was filled with offerings, holy images, and candles. She held weekly meetings where the participants were only allowed to wear white. Liquor and food were left as an offering to the spirits. Marie gave advice to her clients on just about everything. Racism and the need for newspapers to publish sensational stories led to most descriptions describing Marie’s ceremonies as drunken orgies. Marie became a prominent position in New Orleans due to her natural theatrics, charitable work, and strong personality. She bailed free women of color, nursed yellow fever patients, and visited prisoners to pray for them.
Marie Laveau died in 1881. However, her popularity only continues to grow. She has been a fantastic inspirational figure for black women in the Deep South. Her rise would have been impossible if it had not been for New Orleans.
The Yoruba people of Nigeria discuss the creation story to this day. They discuss the creation of life and the universe itself. It was common among the Yoruba people to quarrel with different city-states. The Yoruba people used to identify with the city-state they lived in rather than their people as a whole. The principal Yoruba city was called Ife. It was considered sacred among the people. The myth behind the Yoruba creation story attempts to explain humanity and its origins. What makes Yoruba gods different from other mythological gods is that they experience human emotions like anger and love.
To better understand the Yoruba creation story, it is important to learn more about the main characters. These are described below.
- Olorun is the creator of the sun and the ruler of the sky.
- Obatala is the creator of the land on Earth and humans. He is Olorun’s favorite god.
- Olokun is the ruler of the sea.
- Eshu is the Messenger God.
- Orunmila is the oldest son of Olorun and is considered the Prophet God.
Now that you have an idea about the different Gods according to the Yoruba people, you will have an easier time understanding the Yoruba creation story. At the beginning of time, our universe only consisted of the wild marshlands, the water, and the sky. It was Obatala who thought that the world could use more. Therefore, he went to ask Olorun for permission to create fields, forests, valleys, and mountains. Thus, Olorun gave Obatala permission to create solid land on the earth.
After, Obatala went to Orunmila. The Prophet God told Obatala that a gold chain is required to reach the waters below from the sky. Hence, Obatala went to the goldsmith to get the chain made. Once the chain was complete, Obatala descended onto the Earth. He carried a snail shell containing sand, a palm nut, a black cat, and a white hen. As Obatala tried to climb down, he quickly realized that his chain was not long enough. Then, Orunmila told Obatala to dump all of the sand and hen onto the earth. As the hen started scratching the sand, it spread it around and formed solid land onto the earth.
Finally, Obatala let go of his chain and fell onto earth. He named the place where he fell down Ife. Then, he planted the palm nut, which sprouted and became a palm tree immediately. Obatala kept the cat as company.
Despite having the cat with him, Obatala still felt lonely. Thus, he started making clay figures in his image. Then, he drank some wine as he got tired. The wine was made from palm tree juice. As he tried to make clay figures while being drunk, he realized that the figures were deformed. Lastly, Olorun breathed life into these figures, which became humans.
Wiccans need to give offerings to their new god or goddess. To start your journey right and show appreciation, one must give an offering. The act of offering something to a god or goddess allows you to show your love, gratitude, or loyalty towards them. Keep in mind that every god and goddess has their own unique preferences. This is why it is important to plan ahead and learn as much as possible about the topic.
Types of Offerings
When you decide to offer something, you should consider the following.
- Bowl of flowers or herbs
- A drawing
- An act
Now, it is important that you follow your heart and use your imagination when making an offering. However, it has to be something that your god or goddess likes. Otherwise, they might get upset with you.
Why Make An Offering?
Before we take a close look at how you can make an offering, it is important that you learn why it is important to make an offering. Making offerings to gods and goddesses is at the core of traditional Wiccan rituals.
How Can You Make An Offering?
To make an offering to your new god or goddess, you need to follow the rituals mentioned below.
Erect the Temple
Erecting the temple is the first thing that you need to do to give an offering to your new god or goddess. It is at the core of setting a place of worship in your home. When you set up a temple, you get to connect with the gods and harness energy from them.
The next thing that you need to do is invoke the gods. You must invoke the gods or goddesses if you want them to accept your offering. Through the invocation, you get to call your gods into the temple. This is a very important step. It is crucial that you are as honest and sincere as possible in order for your offering to be accepted by them.
Now, you can proceed to the Sabbath. It is a Wiccan ritual that you take seriously. Learn as much about it as possible to ensure that your prayers are accepted. If you do not know what the Sabbath is, it is an individual holiday that is observed for Yule or any other god. It can be a feast day where you eat food.
In addition to the above, you can also sing, perform certain activities, chant, and cast spells along with meditation to achieve the desirable. Make sure to discuss your previous lives and tune into your previous life force.
Giving offerings to your new god as it is extremely important. New Wiccans need to put in the effort to showcase their devotion towards the religion and way of life. There are many things that you can offer to establish a relationship with the god or goddess.
The Internal Festival of the Dahomean Cultures in the last one of the year, lasting ten days. It takes place in Abomey Benin and celebrates the diversity of Benin.
This festival was established to share the way of life of the Dahomean people. Many of them continue to follow the same lifestyle today that had been followed by their ancestors. This reveals just how committed the people are to holding onto their values. Therefore, to highlight the culture of its people, the country of Benin decided to establish the festival.
Held every year during the month of December, anyone who attends the festival will let you know that they had an incredible time. There is just something about the event that you will not find anywhere else. It transports you to a completely different world. You will be blown away by the experience and will get to learn how the Dahomean people do things.
The Dahomean dance is unique and very fun to watch. If you have never been to West Africa, you will be surprised to see such diversity in the moves. The people take great pride in their local dance and are always happy to show off their skills. You are bound to have an amazing time watching the people dance to a tune that you might have not have ever encountered.
The International Festival of the Dahomean Culture is a festival unlike any other. If you want to attend a different festival, it is the perfect festival for you. It will change your point of view on everything and is well worth your time. Hence, you have to attend it.
The atmosphere is festive. There are different traditional costumes, songs, and dances. Performance of various folk songs and stories of the Dahomey Kingdom from which Benin originates. Because of the intertwined history with neighboring countries, the festival attracts spectators from other West African regions.