Africa is home to quite a number of religions. Even before Islam and Christianity arrived on the continent, the traditional religions reigned supreme.
One of the most popular religions still practised even today is Voodoo. Countries like Benin, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria and the African diaspora including Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil and America consider voodoo a part of their spiritual existence.
Widely regarded as the birthplace of voodoo, the tiny West African nation of Benin hosts the Voodoo Festival each year on January 10, a day also set aside as a public holiday. Also known as the Fête du Vaudou, the celebrations are held nationally, however, the city of Ouidah, which is seen as the spiritual capital of the religion as well as the country is famous for its conspicuous and beautiful pomp.
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The festival, which attracts a huge number of curious tourists from within and outside the continent is characterized by the performance of rituals and traditional dances. Popular deities including Gou the god of Iron, Elegbara the Messenger, Kokou the Warrior, Zangbeto the guardian of the Night, Mami Wata goddess of Water, among others are honored during the celebrations.
Take a look at some photos and videos of this year’s festival through the lens of Instagram user Tally Ben Yishay. Enjoy!