Had a wonderful experience in June full-joying my earthstrong in Benin 2019 and 6 months later in January 2020, I was back to meet friends and experience the Vodun Festival. The Vodun (voodoo) festival takes place every January in the town of Ouidah. It is a celebration of voodooism, religion and cults.
The Festival – well what can I or cant I say. It was advised to attend early around 9am, but we arrived around noon due to transportation. So ,I did not really witness any spiritual connections, sacrifices, rituals during the remaining time in Ouidah. But there was dancing, drumming, arts, crafts, food and drink vendors. After a bite to eat, we headed back to our apartment in Fidjrosse.
During the evening just a short walk to the beach side, we sat and watch the Zangbeto performance. Zangbeto is a Fon spirit that dresses in a walking grass raffia skirt known as a Zanho (the house of night) a term used to mean guardians of the night. The dance is made of continuous spins which represent spiritual cleansing of the village. It spun and turned closely towards the crowd making onlookers jeer, screech and frightened young children. In fact, we dropped off our bench because of the receding crowd running away from the Zangbeto.
I was excited to visit a long time friend called Neters who travelled from UK with her daughter. She and 2 partners have under 1yr laid foundations to the International African Center of Arts and Design (www.nuspiritsinc.org) in Akpakpa. A fantastic flexible indoor and outdoor space of many rooms including a rooftop and sleeping quarters. Hopefully I will reside there on my next visit.
Of course, I had to stop by the artisan centre in Cotonou for some words of wisdom from shop elder, where I purchased the Mami Wata statue in June. He has some incredible statues from Benin and Yoruba culture which he educated me with the meanings and uses.
Within the forecourt we joined shop vendors to sip Ataya – infused herbal tea.
(me and Babs Ofori)
This time I did not need to visit the recommended sites, so had more time for leisure which I took full advantage of. On Sunday invited to a Benin family dinner – ate okra stew with pounded maize. (finished chopping before taking image)
(with Nayaa and Benin family)
Okay so now I’m going to have to wait 12months to return to witness the vodun festival. Although I have heard that the festival has become too touristy now, I still need to return in January 2021 to acknowledge the vodun festival from the beginning to judge for oneself.
Before I knew it Monday was here – time to hit the road for the long bus journey back to Ghana.
Bless Sister E (Naa Dzamah)