More Halloween Celebrations involving Haitian Vodou rituals and yummy home-cooked Haitian Food at the Brockton Public Library

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Haitian food: rice and beans, pork, mushroom rice, spicy vinegary salad and plantains. Chips aren't very Haitian. Or are they?

"Gede Ayisyen-
Brockton Public Library - 304 Main Street - Brockton, MA
Invitation details: All are invited to the Haitian Halloweenn (Gede) presentation - presented by Lakou Papillon. Come and learn how we celebrate Halloween (Gede). There will be a lecture and open discussion, food and a lot of drumming. Come with an open heart and mind and be part of an exciting event." 

[In the spirit of MORE halloween, I'm re-posting an entry I wrote last year.] My medical anthropology classmate Liz (whose PhD work is related to vodou traditions) invited a bunch of us to a Gede workshop in Brockton, MA. For the unfamiliar, Voudou is based on a combination of beliefs from West AfricaArawakian traditions and Roman Catholic Christianity. In Vodou traditions, the spirit world is central to worship; in good faith, a spirit may help to heal and defend against evil spirits but conversely, you could be the unlucky victim of some bad juju if you're not careful. We were treated to an eye-opening talk by Lakou Papillon, the male priest. Specifically the presentation we went to focused on Gede, one of the spirits central to Halloween. (For a more information on Gede, Baron Samedi check out this link.) According to wiki,

a Haitian Voodoo service begins with a series of Catholic prayers and songs in French, then a litany in Kreyòl and African "langaj" that goes through all the European and African saints and lwa honored by the house, and then a series of verses for all the main spirits of the house. This is called the "Priyè Gine" or the African Prayer. After more introductory songs, beginning with saluting Hounto, the spirit of the drums, the songs for all the individual spirits are sung, starting with the Legba family through all the Rada spirits, then there is a break and the Petwo part of the service begins, which ends with the songs for the Gede family.
I found it interested to see how Vodou presented in Massachusetts fits into the global Haitian diaspora as people shared their life various stories. Although the bulk of the audience were Haitian, non-Haitians (like me) were so warmly taken care of, I felt fuzzy inside as people were not only open about their cultural beliefs but also really respectful and kind of other religions. Needless to say.... I am most excited about the food! The Haitian community in Brockton did a pot-luck of sorts, and brought home-made goodies (seen in the first pic), and I must say that it was absolutely rustic and delicious! Too bad, I can't get it otherwise in Boston. Any ideas? :(

@Brockton Public Library-Celebrating Haitian Vodou Halloween/Gede-Drumming, song and a pageant.

Cake with veve of Papa Legba

and of Baron Samedi (Saturday)


Unknown said...

I remember this! What fun :) And there are some great places to get Haitian food in Boston. I'm sorry to have missed out on the Jamaican adventure, but we should plan a Haitian one!


Winnie said...

I have another groupon for it and the restaurant delivers so we can still get more Jamaican food :) Do let me know if you have any recommendations for Haitian food!

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