Friday, 13 July 2012

Dan Kitwood: Benin Voodoo

Photo Dan Kitwood/Getty Images-Courtesy The Guardian
Can anything dispel the auguries of a Friday 13th better than a Benin Voodoo festival?

Being fascinated by such religious festivals and rituals (the more obscure the better), I was glad to have seen Dan Kitwood's gallery of a Benin Voodoo festival in The Guardian, which also led me to his website/blog on which he lays out further captivating photographs (with better resolution) of Voodoo which also has a slideshow at the bottom of the post.

As seen in the above photograph, the costumes are incredibly colorful...perhaps rivaling the Bhutanese dancers at tsechus in their elaborateness and intricacy of their embroidered designs .

In the tiny West African nation of Benin, Voodoo is and remains the state religion. Incredibly, voodoo has officially been a national religion of Benin since 1996, where more than 60% of the people are said to follow its traditions. Slaves from this corner of Africa brought the religion to the New World, most notably to Haiti.

And while Christianity and Islam in Benin are also practiced, voodoo still influences them. In the voodoo tradition, there's a supreme god, Mahu, and a number of smaller gods or spirits, with whom humans can interact.

Dan Kitwood is a UK photojournalist who, after completing a degree in Fine Art, traveled around South East Asia, Australasia and South America, which triggered a passion for photography. After two years working for the South West News he joined Getty Images in London.