Voodooists Honor Victims Of Haiti's Earthquake

March 28, 2010

Author: Mike Melia

Source: Google News

Wire Service: AP

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5idZiVQhHcyG1gpBjzXaAmmk4_OtAD9ENR5B80

Hundreds of Voodoo practitioners chanted, prayed and pounded drums Sunday to honor earthquake victims in an unusually public ceremony for a religion most often celebrated in private homes.

The white-clad Voodooists, many with black sashes around their arms, walked under the scorching Caribbean sun from a downtown plaza to the shoreline, where they asked for the spirits of the dead to be cleansed in the ocean and sent on their way to reincarnation.

"Without us, there is no Haiti," said Voodoo priest Jean Claude Bazil, claiming his religion as the country's true path. "We have to pull ourselves together to save Haiti."

The Jan. 12 earthquake, which killed a government-estimated 230,000 people, roused tensions among Haiti's religions as some of the outpouring of aid has been funneled through Christian groups. A ceremony in a seaside slum last month was disrupted by angry crowds that threw rocks at Voodoo practitioners.