From Fri May 23 10:00:06 2003
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 07:39:14 -0500 (CDT)
From: Bob Corbett <>
To: Haiti mailing list <>
Subject: 15667: Mambo Racine re: 15616: Thylefors: Re: Vodou’s official recognition; any news?(fwd)


What has followed in the path of the official recognition of Vodou?

Dialog from Haiti list, 23 May 2003

Markel Thylefors <> asks:

> Does anyone have some news about what has followed in the path of
> the official recognition of Vodou?

Nothing has been implemented yet, at least not here in Jacmel. Yes, Mambos will be able to perform the same services as Houngans, that is what the Vodou religion practices, as you know. (Hey, when are you coming back to Jacmel? People keep asking me about you!)

> Are there, by the way, any Christian women priests in Haiti who
> perform officially recognized priestly duties?

I don’t think so—the Christian denominations here, Protestant and Catholic too, are savagely sexist. They don’t even condemn violence against women. In the Episcopal church in the USA there are women pastors, but I haven’t seen any at St. Trinite!

> Perhaps this gender issue will lead to some turbulence.

I don’t think so, you know why? Even though Haitian society is horribly misogynist, in Vodou Mambos and Houngans have always had the same roles and the same ranks. The Catholics, and especially the Protestants, blast us all to hell anyway, so it doesn’t make much difference as far as they are concerned whether women can marry people—we’re all doomed in their book.

> I read in a Swedish (!) paper that a couple had married before a
> licensed Vodou priest and that this had evoked a storm of protests
> from only Christians; and that Nouvelliste received loads of
> letters complaining about the marriage.

Really? I’ll try to check on that, but I didn’t hear about it. I confess I don’t read the Nouvelliste, but I think I would have heard something. I don’t know why anyone would think it was any of their business if a couple got married in front of a Houngan or Mambo—the complainers aren’t forced to do it if they don’t want to.

Now, on the other hand, I have an initiate, a Houngan who had his ceremonies with me here in Haiti, who now lives in New Orleans and who is licenced to perform marriages there. I gave him a statement notarized here in Haiti in support of his application for this license and they seemed to accept it in Louisiana.

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

Se bon ki ra—Good is rare

Haitian Proverb