Day of Kings

Day of Kings

rada-nation-lwa-altar
Rada Nation Lwa Altar
Join Sosyete Gade Nou Leve in a beautiful Vodou Ceremony . . .

January 6th is the Day of Kings, a very special holiday to all Vodouisants. Many Houses hold fetes (parties) for the Lwa on this day, and this year is no different. Some Houses perform ceremonies for the Simbis (who are often associated with the Three Kings), some Houses honor the Kongo nation of Lwa, some feast all of their Lwa, and others do something else altogether. Ceremonies are also commonly held by the Freemasons on this day, and Vodouisants – some of whom may be Freemasons – participate in these ceremonies, bringing in the New Year with much pleasure and joy.

Our House is no different. Every year for the past several years we have been hosting this beautiful event. Most years I hire a set of drummers who play the beautiful Vodou rhythms that entertain the Lwa, and attract their presence. This year, unfortunately, I have been unable to locate our usual drummers so we will be doing a “hand clap” party. You are welcome to come and clap your hands to call the Lwa with us!

The night before the party, myself along with the initiates of the House make preparations for what will commence as a huge feast. Sacrifices are made to the Lwa of the House and we start cleaning and cooking these for the Lwa to come and eat the next night. Our House sacrifices 7 or 21 roosters and hens on this night. Starting with Legba, all of the House Lwa are fed the blood of their sacrificial animals, and their meals begin preparation.

 

On the morning of the 6th, the house becomes very hectic as initiates and guests come and pay respects, and we prepare for the big event. Food is being cooked for the Lwa, people mingle, and a general good time is had by all. By nightfall, all the members don their white clothing and the tension rises as the energy of the upcoming event keeps humming.

We start the ceremony with the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and the Apostle’s Creed as is typical of Vodou ceremonies. We honor God Almighty and thank him for giving us life and a chance to live another day. We give him thanks for allowing us to serve our Lwa and improve our lives. We thank God because without Him nothing can be done, and with Him everything is possible.

Then we start the Priye Ginen, the African prayers, which will lead us back to Africa so that we can contact the Saints, the Ancestors, and the Lwa. This prayer can be up to a hundred verses long and salutes all of the major Lwa. As we reverently pray, we remember all of the people who have gone before us and the Lwa who have guided us in the proper direction.

Then we all stand and start to sing for Border, calling all initiates to come and begin the dance. As we heat up, the initiates begin to dance and sing. The opening leads with Legba opening the gate for us to contact the other Lwa, who will be honored during the ensuing ceremony.

We sing through the Rada, saluting all the major spirits of that rite with proper greetings and salutations. A short break is usually taken after Danbala so that we can all catch our breath, and have a drink. After the break, the Rada Lwa continue to be sung for. We go into Nago showing respect to the Ogous and the other Nagos who give us strength, and encourage them to give us the strength needed for the New Year.

rada-lwa-lamp
A Vodou Lamp lit as service to Rada Lwa

 

service-lasirene-lwa
Service to the Haitian Vodou Lwa LaSirene
The Ibo Lwa are saluted, and then we go into the Kongos. The Kongos are our main focus during the dance, so much enjoyment comes when it’s Kongo time. The Kongo spirits know how to party and are known for being “clean” in their work. We dance for the Kongo spirits, whose dances are among the most beautiful in Vodou.

Petro is sung for next, and our House very frequently receives a visit from Ezili Dantor, who is held in very high regard amongst our House and clients. After the Petro portion of our ceremony, lastly the Gedes appear in all their fun. They provide the comic relief needed at the end of a long night of hard work and much dancing. At our House, like in most others, Gede’s presence is very welcome and we enjoy their humor.

Words cannot really describe a Vodou party. It is something that needs to be seen and felt. A Vodou ceremony is an experience, that is all I can really tell you. We hope that you can join us during this joyous time of year. Maybe you will get to interact with some of your favorite Lwa, or get a blessing, a healing, or a wish granted.

If you wish to join us, it is typical to wear white although just coming dressed up, like going to church, is most appropriate. Accenting your white outfit in red is also okay. Many people bring gifts or money for the Lwa to ensure their blessings, and you are free to do this also if you choose.

The dance will be held here in Vineland, NJ, and will be starting at 7pm Vodou Time. (For those of you who don’t know what Vodou time means, it usually means we start late! LOL)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

– all of us at Sosyete Gade Nou Leve