News Daily Spot: Haitian voodoo visit cemeteries in the Day of the Dead

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Haitian voodoo visit cemeteries in the Day of the Dead

Many people attended the burial Sunday in Haiti with beeswax candles, offerings of food and bottles of rum mixed with hot peppers as every year to celebrate the Voodoo Day of the Dead festival.

By David McFadden, Associated Press

In the vast national cemetery in Port au Prince, voodoo priests and priestesses gathered around a blackened monument believed to be the oldest tomb.

On site, they lit candles and small fires while evoking the spirit of Baron Samedi, the guardian of the dead, which typically described as being dark hat with cup and white skull face.

Some took mouthfuls of spicy rum and sprayed on the cross of the grave. As if in a trance, wrapped in a blanket with paisley young man chewed bits of glass from a broken bottle. However, viewers who hastily moved among the graves for a better view did not believe him and yelled "thief" as the man spitting blood.

Minutes later, the rise in the tombs crowd showed their respect to a priestess wearing a purple scarf around her head as she danced as if given seizures and issued a sharp regret.

Other Haitians gathered among the graves in silence to remember their deceased relatives and ask the spirits to guide them or grant them favors.

Traders who settled in cemeteries had a good day because they sold portraits of Catholic saints in addition to candles, rum and rosary.

Vodou, or Voodoo as write Haitian, was developed in the seventeenth century when settlers brought slaves to Haiti from West Africa.

The slaves, who were forced to practice Catholicism, took the saints to coincide with African religions characters.

Voodoo was authorized as an official religion in 2003 and is widely practiced in the country, which has 10 million inhabitants.

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