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Taboo About Voodoo Essay

1219 words - 5 pages

All throughout history, the religion of Voodoo, or Vodou, has been hushed, covered up, and considered evil. This background essay will go through the history, the opinions and fears, and a few aspects of rituals. The exact history of the religion is unknown, which only adds to the ignorance and the confusion of Voodoo. Some say it came from the Italian exiles from the Italian Revolution (Hall, 1995) while others say that the origins are elusive (National Geographic). As many as four million individuals practice this official religion. From the early eighteenth century to the late nineteenth century, Voodoo progressed into a feared religion by many in New Orleans and beyond. With zombies, queens, rituals and more, Voodoo has become more popular than ever, however, with popularity comes controversy.

From Benin, Africa, to the country of Haiti, Voodoo is practiced by as many as 4 million people and is recognized more and more often. From the start, Voodoo was a very mysterious religion and was hidden away from onlookers, and for good reason. This essay begins in 1719 to 1731, although some have said that Voodoo is as old as Africa itself. Slaves were taken from West Africa and brought into the United States, eventually bringing Voodoo into the society of New Orleans, Louisiana. With the influx of African slaves came the influence of Louisiana Voodoo, or New Orleans Voodoo. The knowledge of herbs and poisons, the use of amulets and charms, the practices of political views and religions were key elements of what we know of today. Unlike other areas of slave trades, Louisiana didn’t separate families from each other, their religions, or their cultures. In 1808, the Embargo Act ended the slave imports to Louisiana and African culture. Also during the nineteenth century, Voodoo queens became central figures of Voodoo. These queens conducted rituals and ceremonies and made an income making and selling charms and amulets. One of the most famous and powerful Voodoo Queens was Marie Laveau; she brought Voodoo to life. She eventually overthrew other voodoo queens and became one of the most historical figures in the history of Voodoo. In this point in time, the Catholic religion became a part of the Voodoo belief system. Also a Catholic, Laveau encouraged her followers to attend Mass. Laveau was most known for her work in 1852. During that time, she continuously visited two prisoners that were to be executed and they wanted to be saved. On the day, place, and time of their execution, the sky grew dark and a flash of light “released them from the noose” right before they were to be executed. Later in the nineteenth century, when the famous Marie Laveau grew elderly, she passed everything she knew, had, and was to her daughter; as much as Marie’s identity was inherited by her daughter. In 1881, the original Marie Laveau died and was buried St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans. Today, hundreds of people visit the site to ask favors, placing Xs on her tomb.

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