Day of the Dead Celebration in Haiti
Hundreds of practitioners of the Vodou and Christian persuasion flock cemeteries and light homemade candles, strew flowers, and offer food and alcohol to the spirits Ghede and Baron Samdi. And since Vodou's legalization in 2003, the ceremonies have become more accessible and certainly more attractive to tourists wanting to witness the cultural spectacle.
Painted faces, meant to portray death, act as a mask behind which people may become inhabited by dead spirits seeking offerings. But even without this guise, many fall under the spell wrought by hundreds of years of tradition and the wildness of the crowd is excused by the rowdiness of the spirits believed to walk among the living, indistinguishable from the white, black or purple dressed 'breathers' among them.
But, alongside scenes of genitals being bathed in peppered wine and sometimes open scenes of copulation are traditions like the feeding of the poor. Before the celebrators eat, food and drink is issued to the poor and begging. When these disenfranchised are fed, the gorging of the revelers on food, liquor and fun begins; the days that start with homage and praying then morph into dance-filled fetes, all with the memory of our dearly departed in mind.
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