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English Comp II Mr. Rafalowski: Racheal Clenney

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Voodoo in Haiti

Edwidge Danticat’s short story, “A Wall of Fire Rising” is set in Haiti. While reading this story, I became very interested in the religious backgrounds and rituals of the culture. An article by A to Z World Culture lists some of the denominations commonly found in Haiti, “Roman Catholics comprise 55 percent of the population, Baptists 8 percent, Pentecostals 3 percent, Adventists 2 percent, and Methodists a little over 1 percent.” (“Religion: Religions of the Country”). The most common religion is Haiti in Voodoo, with Christianity at a close second. While some people think of voodoo as just dolls, spirits, and witches, the Columbian Encyclopedia defines it this way, “Voodoo contends that all of nature is controlled by spiritual forces which must be acknowledged and honored through offerings and animal sacrifice; ecstatic trances (a means of communicating with the gods and spirits) and magical practices play an important role in its ritual” (Voodoo). Some Haitians believe in both Christianity and Voodoo. The religion originated in West Africa, but was brought to Haiti-and other countries-as a result of slave trading during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Overview of Voodoo). Disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, have only intensified the Haitians desire for a Higher Power, thus seeking comfort in the spiritual world of Voodoo.