Haitians hold voodoo rituals to honor ancestors amid crisis

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Valcin Antoine "Toutout", an Ougan oregon Voodoo priest, participates successful a ceremonial during the Day of the Dead celebrations astatine the Meyotte cemetery successful Kay Gouye, successful Port-au-Prince, Haiti, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Claudia Daut

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Haitians honored their ancestors to people the Day of the Dead connected Tuesday successful colorful voodoo rituals that offered a respite from the pugnacious day-to-day world of substance shortages, pack unit and rising malnutrition.

Voodoo followers successful the Caribbean federation gathered successful cemeteries, galore dressed successful achromatic and immoderate with their faces covered successful achromatic powder, to sing and creation arsenic portion of rituals that impact communing with ancestral spirits.

"Voodoo, if you privation to specify it, is the means astatine your disposal to found harmony betwixt you and everything that surrounds you, some disposable and invisible," said Carl-Henry Desmornes, the religion's "ATI" oregon ultimate leader, successful an interview.

More than fractional of Haiti's 11 cardinal radical are believed to signifier voodoo, a religion brought from West Africa by enslaved men and women and practiced clandestinely nether French assemblage rule.

It is intimately identified with the conflict against slavery successful Haiti, which declared independency from France successful 1804 pursuing what is wide considered the world's lone palmy enslaved revolt.

"Despite the difficulties caused by the deficiency of gasoline, radical person made the travel to the cemetery. As I speak, my car is retired of gas," said Valcin Antoine, a voodoo clergyman oregon "ougan" known arsenic "Toutou," who led a ceremonial connected Monday astatine a cemetery successful the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-ville.

"We are not acrophobic erstwhile we bash the enactment of the spirits, they support us."

For decades voodoo has been portrayed successful Western films arsenic a achromatic magic cult, but it was officially recognized arsenic a religion by Haiti's authorities successful 2003 nether President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Haiti has for astir 2 weeks suffered terrible substance shortages. Gang blockades person prevented trucks from reaching substance terminals, forcing immoderate businesses to unopen their doors and hospitals to bounds services.

A question of pack kidnappings, including the abduction past period of a radical of American and Canadian missionaries, has spurred section outrage and led respective transport manufacture groups to telephone wide strikes.

Reporting by Gessika Thomas successful Port-au-Prince; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Richard Chang

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