Serving Our Dead

Serving Our Dead

This page is dedicated to learning
the service of our ancestors!

All those people who made us who we are.

Our ancestors are very important to us. They are the people who made us who we are. They are our grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. All those who have died who were members of our family. They go all the way back, to the beginning of time. Even if you don’t know the names of your ancestors, you can serve them. You would say “To all those ancestors, I know and I do not know. To all my ancestors that I have called and not called. To all the ancestors I remember and do not remember!”

You serve your ancestors with a black cloth and a white cloth. You can set up a special table just for them, or you can serve them on Gede’s table. People sometimes ask me “Can I feed them on Gede’s table?” Of course you can, the Gede are the dead. Feed your ancestors their favorite foods. Or feed them general Gede foods, such as salted herring, peanuts, coconut, rice and beans, etc. You can add photos of deceased relatives. Make sure the picture only contains deceased individuals in it. You can add a purple cloth too (black and purple are Gede’s colors). White flowers are also very appropriate.

Serve them with white candles, rum, coffee, and water. Cigarettes and cigars are a must! Some traditions also put a cross on their ancestor tables, and one will definitely be appropriate as it is the symbol of the Baron. Sing Gede songs such as the following:

Jou m antre nan lakwa mwen gwo!(x2)
Gras ak delivrans O!(x2)
Jou m antre nan lakwa mwen gwo!

Serving the ancestors is foundational, it will become your base. The service can be as complicated or as simple as you wish. The services honor our heritage and lineage. One can also honor spiritual ancestors, deceased friends, and acquaintances on the table. Our ancestors are said to always be with us, and by repairing your relationship with them, you will receive the many blessings they have to confer. They will give you insight, luck, financial blessings, strength, health and more! Correctly serving them is one very good way to get started within our beautiful tradition, so good luck and remember yourself and where you came from!

One of my students told me about how they serve their ancestors where he lives in Ukraine. It was very interesting, and he gave me permission to post it here:

“Provody, celebrate in a week after Easter. The name occurs from a verb “provozhat” (to see off). This holiday is very similar to Fet Gede in Haiti. In 988 year, the Christianity became official religion of the Kiev Russia. But in spite of it, many pagan traditions continue to exist and now. Orthodox priests speak that to bring foods and drinks to cemetery it’s not Christianly. But to their words nobody listens. Visiting died relatives people put flowers, drinks and a meal on tombs. Especially are pleased children since to them give set of sweets. That died didn’t require food it is accepted to treat each other.”