01 August, 2014 / Shawwal 4, 1435

Voodoo Festival

What little we know of Voodoo is usually confined to its spine-tingling spells and myths. But in Ouidah, the major cultural city in the West African nation of Benin, Voodoo means serious business. It is a religion approved by the government, with around 17 per cent of devotees among Benin’s population.

This year's festival honored the slaves who were taken from surrounding countries and sent into America and the Caribbean, people who brought the religion with them.  -Text and photos by AP

A voodoo curse, the head of a monkey wrapped around the stick.
A voodoo curse, the head of a monkey wrapped around the stick.
Voodoo chiefs walk past The Point of No Return monument, which commemorates the slave trade during the annual Voodoo Festival in Ouidah, Benin.
Voodoo chiefs walk past The Point of No Return monument, which commemorates the slave trade during the annual Voodoo Festival in Ouidah, Benin.
A man raises a knife to a crowd of worshippers and onlookers before slaughtering a goat at the Temple of Pythons.
A man raises a knife to a crowd of worshippers and onlookers before slaughtering a goat at the Temple of Pythons.
Voodoo priestess Djbassi Manonwomin, leads fellow worshippers of a mermaid deity to the Voodoo Festival.
Voodoo priestess Djbassi Manonwomin, leads fellow worshippers of a mermaid deity to the Voodoo Festival.
Voodoo dolls wrapped into a woman's dress during the festival.
Voodoo dolls wrapped into a woman's dress during the festival.
Jean Zossoujbo, a guide at the Temple of Pythons, shows a python to a visitor at the temple.
Jean Zossoujbo, a guide at the Temple of Pythons, shows a python to a visitor at the temple.
Aduare Achumba, a visitor to the Temple of Pythons, reacts as a guide puts a python on her head.
Aduare Achumba, a visitor to the Temple of Pythons, reacts as a guide puts a python on her head.
People watch as a Voodoo worshipper performs.
People watch as a Voodoo worshipper performs.
Voodoo worshippers dance during the festival.
Voodoo worshippers dance during the festival.
A voodoo effigy on display.
A voodoo effigy on display.
Voodoo worshippers make sacrifice at the beach.
Voodoo worshippers make sacrifice at the beach.

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