A LONG ALL SAINTS, GEDE, WEEKEND IN HAITI
(Defend Haiti) - By Jonel Juste
PORT-AU-PRINCE - A long All Saints weekend began since last Friday in Haiti. Public offices were closed Monday, October 31. All sorts of processions and “Gede” demonstrations are taking place in churches, streets and cemeteries Tuesday and Wednesday, November 1st and 2nd.
On All Saints' Day, Catholics and voodoo followers usually celebrate the saints and the dead in Haiti. In Haitian traditions, on this occasion the saints and loas (voodoo spirits) are called on, in prayers or other forms of incantations.
To Catholic believers, this is the day to revere their saints and revive the memory of loved ones or relatives who died.
The cemeteries are the main places of attraction for voodoo followers. This year, these areas will undoubtedly be the scene of rituals performed in honor of those death-associated deities.
The festival of "Gede", particularly commemorated on November 2, characterizes the Voodoo religion in Haiti. In mythology Haitian voodoo, the "Gede" represent the spirits of the dead.
In this traditional celebration, purple and white dressed people sing, talk nasal, utter lewdness and engage in erotic gestures and body postures. They're said to be possessed or overcome by a voodoo spirit.
All Saints day is also observed in the Haitian community abroad, particularly the of Haitian district in Miami, Little Haiti.
"But there is no way, as done in Haiti, to go observe funeral rites at the cemetery. Here, it is considered a violation of real estate and disturbing the public order", informed David, a local resident.
"Some have already tried in the past and were dealt with by the police," he added.
In Little Haiti, the commemoration is more discrete. Those who want to perform the ritual must do so indoors in voodoo temples, or in the Botanicas in the Haitian neighborhoods.
There is also the cultural aspect of All Saints Day, which is to organize musical events in the clubs. Music bands such as Ram perform to the delight of voodoo followers or roots music lovers.