Saturday, January 22, 2011

"We had no choice." Strategic syncretism in the face of Christianization.

Below is a great interview [well, aside from some moronic blather from the interviewers] with Sara Rénélik, Labelle Deesse Jr., and Labelle Deesse Sr. They are all active in the Haitian Vodou community in Monteal. The interview was conducted in 2008 by CTV.

In the interview there is reference made to a film festival that had just taken place in Montreal. Here is a link to more information about that: Voodoo: Montreal Haitian Film Festival (2008). There is also reference to an art exhibit, and here is a link to that: Voodoo: Art, Mystery or Religion?

The reason I'm posting this video is because of the very frank explanation of why Christian elements have been incorporated, at least superficially, in Haitian Vodou, given by Labelle Deesse, Jr.

[0:20] Announcer: "Some consider Vodou to be an actual religion, but others call it witchcraft. Debra Arbec investigates."

Debra Arbec: "To the uninitiated, images like these represent darkness, witchcraft, blasphemy. But for those who practice Haitian Vodou that's the hollywood version .... [2:10] As a French colony, Catholicism was forced onto African slaves in Haiti."

Mambo Labelle Deesse, Jr.: "We had no choice to combine the Catholics with our own culture, so we don't get killed."

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