Religions are forms of practices meant to praise a higher being. So why are there so many if the main purpose is the same? Over the years, different peoples of the world developed views of how to serve their master correctly. The result of this led to the creation of around 20 major religions.
One of the most common religions practiced is Christianity, which has an amount of “2.1 billion adherents” (Ditzel, How many Religions are There?) . Although it is less common than Christianity, Voodoo has a surplus of 60 million followers. Voodoo is usually thought to be associated with chanting, candle lights, and people with painted faces or masks. However, that is not particularly true. According to Reverend Severina Karuna and Mayi Singh, practitioners of Voodoo, their beliefs are that Voodoo is a life affirming practice that encourages its participants to better understand the natural processes of life and to understand their own spiritual natures within.
In America, when the word ‘Voodoo” is said, people usually cringe in fear. Mostly because Voodoo is a practice meant for people who are usually foreboding, prophetic, and dark-spirited. Hollywood plays a major role in polluting the meaning of Voodoo.. In Africa, there is also the misinterpretation of Voodoo.
In the movies, there is almost always a man with a painted face who claims that he could speak with spirits. Customers would have to sacrifice something to the spirit in order for them to gain something from it. Instead of chanting and dancing, the person would speak a foreign language over an object representing what the customer wants and shake a rattle over it. A few days later, the customers wish would be granted, supposedly. However, what people in Haiti think about Voodoo, is completely the opposite of what people in America or Africa think about it. In Haiti, Voodoo is called “Sevis Gineh” or African Service.
Voodoo flourished in Haiti in the nineteenth century. The spirits that the Haitians communicate to are referred to as the Loas. To Haitians, Voodoo is the “primary culture and religion of approximately seven million people of Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora.” Voodoo or Vodou, as spelled in Creole, started ever since slavery. It originated from slaves that were from West Africa.
Common people would bring together the pressures of slavery, African culture, and religion and “offer their troubles to earthbound spirits or Loas,” so the Loas may take them away forever. Two-Thirds of Haiti’s eight million people do Voodoo. It has been practiced in Haiti for more than two-hundred years. Christianity gets its special name from Jesus Christ. The monotheistic followers of the Christian faith have strong beliefs in God or Yahweh.
They believe that He is the only figure that should be rightfully worshiped by them on Sundays, the designated day of worship. The Bible, scriptures of the Christian faith, tells them that Jesus Christ has been sent by his Father, God, to save them from their sin so they would not perish in Hell. There are also a set of rules given by the Father to his people. They are known as the Ten Commandments. It is believed that if these rules are broken, without repentance, there will be no ‘glorious salvation’ for them.
All in all, if one was to sin, repent, and make attempts to not repeat their mistakes, he or she will make it into heaven. Christianity and Voodoo have very apparent differences and few similarities. The practitioners are even of separate origins. Though these religions are mostly different, the vital and most important result is to give thanks to their god. Whether it is simply attending religious services every Sunday and praying daily the God or walking a few miles to a destination dressed in white to make animal sacrifices to the Loas.
The religions of today, known or unknown serves a great purpose to the gods and its practitioners.