Essay by codybanxUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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Voodoo is one of the oldest religions which have been around in Africa since the beginning of human civilizations. However it was born in Haiti during the European colonization of Hispaniola. The slaves practiced voodoo in secret, and it was a way for them to communicate with each other. Music and dance are the main elements to voodoo ceremonies. Voodoo is practiced around the world.

Vodun is commonly called Voodoo by the public. The name is traceable to an African word for "spirit". Vodun's can be directly traced to the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. Its roots may go back 6,000 years in Africa. That country occupied parts of today's Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Slaves brought their religion with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies.

Vodun was actively suppressed during colonial times. Many Priests were either killed or imprisoned, and their shrines destroyed, because of the threat they posed to Euro-Christian/Muslim dominion.

This forced some of the Dahomeans to form Vodu Orders and to create underground societies, in order to continue the worship of their ancestors, and the worship of their powerful gods. Vodun was again suppressed during the Marxist regime. However, it has been freely practiced in Benin since a democratic

government was installed there in 1989. Vodun was formally recognized as Benin's official religion in 1996.

It is also followed by most of the adults in Haiti. It can be found in many of the large cities in North America, particularly in the American South.

Today over 60 million people practice Vodun worldwide. Religions similar to Vodun can be found in South America where they are called Umbanda, Quimbanda or Candomble. It is a serious religion, and tries, as any religion does,