Haitian Vodou: Fet Gede

First, go through the crossroads and ask Mèt Kafou to give you passage so that you can attend to the dead. Then, surrounded by the smell of strong “kleren,” walk into the graveyard and dance to the staccato banda drumbeat, your back straight, your hips swiveling in a figure eight motion. Sing with wild abandon a special song to Bawon Samedi, Guardian of the Cemetery—the bridge between life and death, the head of the Gede or Ancestors. Put up an altar in the Vodou temple for the raucous and high-spirited “manjè mò” ceremony. Cherish and feed stewed goat and salted herring to the dead; reconnect with the past…

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Vodou: heartfelt, close to the earth

At a Vodou ceremony in Gonaives, women dance for the spirits—dances full of opposites, subtle and dynamic, graceful and ragged, the vibrant tones and rhythms of the drums creating calm, balance, sensuality, and passion. Les Stone watches these women shake, wail, and swoon, go into a trance, shout to the lwa, drop to the ground. Meet Les Stone. He’s a critically acclaimed photographer, winner of several World Press Photo Awards and Picture of the Year Awards. Stone has chronicled the human cost of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and many others. Stone has visited Haiti more than one hundred times. “Haiti…

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