The Mystique Lakou Souvenance Experience

As one reaches Souvenance, for the Rara annual festive season, one has to pass the crossroads or Kalfou that goes towards Badjo and Soukri. The roads are dusty. Rara season is at its height on 21st March, Good Friday. Formidable crowds make up each Rara.


On Reaching The Rara

The front is led by flag bearers and the colonel keeps whipping and whistling to keep everyone in order. Wearing bright matching veils and dresses, the brides follow.

European military drums, Petwo, Klewon and Banbou and horns in metal are played by musicians besides other percussion instruments. Female singers sing in chorus and the rest of the crowd participate drinking kleren or rum, singing and dancing.

Spiritual And Religious Practice

The annual festival Rara is celebrated as individual bands and processions move through private and public spaces. The festival is based on the spiritual and religious practice of voodoo which has its base in Africa. It is a complex ritual and a raucous celebration which is demonstrated and celebrated in public.

Each of the Rara processions may include one to two hundred people. Souvenance Mystique is the area where they congregate. The lakou or the central house of worship which is otherwise a silent place changes here greatly to revelry during the Rara festive season.

Role Of The Ounsis

The Kongo tradition is celebrated during Rara where sacred voodoo practices are performed. Initiated participants or ounsis are seen in hundreds, dressed in head wraps, finest whites sitting on the benches and facing the alter space. Images of saints and lit candles decorate the altar.

The ounsi becomes possessed by the Iwa spirit and do rhythmic dances and explosive movements such as the Gran Kat. As part of the Rara celebration, the ounsis then sacrifice an animal and carry the animal on their shoulders.

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