Benin is easily one of the most diverse countries in all of Arica. It is home to a variety of different cultures and religions. A popular festival that is celebrated across the country is the Voodoo Festival. It is held during the month of January. The festival is a combination of all traditional religions of West Africa. The identity of Benin is very much influenced by Voodoo. The pantheon of goods consists of over 300 deities. The core belief is that just about everything is spirit. It is the main tenet of the religion.
History of the Voodoo Festival of Benin
The Voodoo Festival of Benin was first held more than two decades ago. It has only grown every year. Thousands of tourists and devotees visit Benin to participate in the event. The country is experiencing a revival of the religion. Although the festival is celebrated everywhere in the country, it is most commonly held in the city of Ouida. It is actually an official holiday in Benin.
The origin of the Voodoo Festival of Benin dates back to 1993 when Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo, the President of Benin inaugurated the event to rehabilitate the cultures and traditions of Voodoo. The fact is that the religion is practiced by most Beninese as well as the African diaspora. The main aim behind celebrating the religion was to reclaim African identity and spirituality along with the dignity of black Africans. The festival is celebrated on 10th January..
What Is the Voodoo Festival of Benin Like?
The Voodoo Festival of Benin is unlike anything you might have experienced in your life. During the entire week, Mami Wata the goddess of Water, Zangbeto the guardian of the Night, Kokou the Warrior, Elegbara the Messenger, Gou the god of Iron, and other deities are remembered by carrying out ancestral cult practices.
The event is observed by thousands of Voodoo adherents, shamans, and traditional chiefs. There are plenty of ceremonies that are conducted. The followers of the religion sing and dance before slaughtering a goat in honor of the deities. There are also consumptions of gin and spirits.
Where Else Is the Voodoo Festival of Benin Celebrated?
The Voodoo Festival of Benin is also practiced in neighboring countries of Nigeria, Togo, and Ghana.
However, different spellings are used by these countries. The Voodoo religion is unique from other traditional African religions. However, it has travelled to other parts of the world to places like Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Benin is where Voodoo was first introduced. The mysterious religion has remained in its purest form in the country. Estimates reveal that close to 60 percent of the local population follows the Voodoo religion. Thus, it has spilled over into the culture.
The Voodoo Festival of Benin is a truly beautiful festival where the religion truly shines. If you are interested in Voodoo, it is important that you participate in the festival. It will provide you with a better perspective.