Vodou-Syncretism in the Caribbean

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Definition of terms3-5
How the process of syncretism started in the Caribbean6
effects of syncretism in the Caribbean7
Essential beliefs of vodou8
Simple vodou ritual9
Similarities between vodou and Catholism 10 Contemporary Vodou 11 Myths and misconceptions aboutVodou 12 Notes 13 Conclusion 14

Bibliography 15

People in the Caribbean follow certain Caribbean religions and are greatly influence by their teachings. These religions of the world give their followers some sort of spiritual satisfaction, social acceptance, self reflection, upliftment and meaning to life. Religion played a great role in the development in the Caribbean regions, since it embraces many cultural elements including personal creed or belief, folk medical practices, ethics and values which have been transmitted from generations to generations through various avenues such as; stories, songs, proverbs and other forms of artistic expressions. Caribbean religions may be classified into several major categories according to Simpson 1978 as quoted in the book Understanding The Contemporary Caribbean. First we have the Neo-African religions. These developed historically within the context of the slavery and preserved a fair amount of African religions traditions, which have combined with Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. They include Vodou in Haiti; Santeria in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico; and can Domble and Macumba in Brazil. The second category includes the ancestral religions that have preserved fewer African traditions and derive from various forms various forms of Protestantism imported to the Caribbean by Christians missionaries during the nineteenth century. These include Orisha in Trinidad and Grenada, the Kumina and convince in Jamaica, the big Drum in Grenada and Carriacon and Kele in St. Lucia. The third categories includes the reinvenlist religions that are nineteenth and twentienth century phenomena and are related to charismatic protestant movements imported from the United States. There encompass the Pentecostal, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Revival movements throughout the Caribbean; spiritual Baptists in Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent, Grenada, Guyana, and Venezuela; Shakers and Streams of Power in St Vincent; Tie Heads (members of the Jerusalem Apostolic spiritual Baptist church) in Barbados and St Lucia; Jordanites in Guyana; Spirit Baptists in Jamaica; and the Cohorites and Holiness movements Pentecostal- derived groups) in Haiti. The fourth category emphasize deviation ( the intuitive reading of one’s future into an object) and folk healing through medium ship. These include Myalism in Jamaica, Revival movement in Jamaica, Espiritismo and the various spritist sects in Puerto Rico, Umbanda in Brazil, and Maria Lionza in Venezuela. The fifth category includes the religion political movements that developed during the early part of the twentieth century and that address many issues related to neocolonialism and social and economic injustice. These include the Rastafarians and dread movements that originated in

Jamaica (but which have become widespread through the Caribbean), as well as the newly introduced nation of Islam from the United States. A sixth category includes the religious traditions imported to the Caribbean from Asia such as the various Hindu sects of Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. These sects were brought to the Caribbean in the nineteenth century with the arrival of thousands of indentured laborers to many parts of the Caribbean. This assignment concentrates mainly on the first category and in particular Vodou as practiced in Haiti.

Definition of terms

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