When Hougan Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II Visited Haiti: “On the Connection between Haiti and Benin (Dahomey)”

When Hougan Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II Visited Haiti:

On the Connection between Haiti and Benin (Dahomey)

Vodou souvenans

Last week, Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II, the spiritual chief of Vodou Hwendo of Benin, visited Haiti. Benin is also the birth place of Vodou. A large population of the African slaves, who were forcibly brought to the French island of Saint-Domingue during the early sixteenth and the end of the eighteenth century, founded the Republic of Haiti in 1804, and originated from the Benin (Dahomey) Empire. The Haitian and Benin people have cultural, spiritual, and ideological connections and similarities.

In his itinerary in the Caribbean nation, during the Holy Week of Easter, Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II visited the historic city of Gonaives and attended a ceremony dedicated to Papa Legba in one of the most sacred sites (spiritual pilgrimage) of the Vodou religion in the country: Lakou Souvenance.

The African ancestors of the Haitian people left the African continent 300 years ago; such an attempt to reconnect Haiti and West Africa has never happened before. Hence, Mr. Houna’s visit to the Black Republic was a historic event in the history of African Diaspora.

I would like us to think critically about the following questions:

1) Did the new President (Jovenel Moise) of Haiti invite Houna to come to Haiti? or

2) Was he invited by the Vodou sector in Haiti?

3) What was the objective (should we say “objectives”) of his visit to Haiti?

4) Is this an important visit for the Vodou community?
If it is, explain in a few words…

5) Given the on-going success and spread of Protestant Christianity in Haiti, is his visit politically connected to reduce the impact of Christianity in Haiti?

*Recent studies on the role of Christianity in the Haitian society have estimated about 45 % of the Haitian population embrace Protestant Christianity–in rejection to the Vodou religion or Islam, which is emerging slowly in Haiti.

5) Are there any cultural, spiritual, and political implications about his visit?

What do you think?

Vodou souvenans2

To read about the historic event, click on the links below:

 Here are a few photos of Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II in Haiti:
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Christianity and Vodou in Haiti (Part 3) (En Kreyol e Angle)

 

Christianity and Vodou in Haiti (Part 3) (En Kreyol e Angle)

“What are They Saying about Vodou?” My Lecture on Christianity and Vodou in Haiti at the University of Florida (November, 2015)

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Thanks to my dear friend Dr. Benjamin Hebblewaite for filming an dposting on youtube my lecture on Vodou and Christianity, which I delivered at the University of Florida (November, 2015):”What are They Saying about Vodou: Christian-Vodouist Tradition or Dialogue”

The entire lecture is divided in four segments. Enjoy!

 “What are They Saying about Vodou?” (Part 1)

“What are They Saying about Vodou?” (Part 2)

“What are They Saying about Vodou?” (Part 3)

“What are They Saying about Vodou?” (Part 4)

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Dialogue on Vodou and Christianity in Haiti?

Here’s my new article that just got published in Theology Today:

“Redefining cultural, national, and religious identity: The Christian–Vodouist dialogue?” Theology Today, 2016, Vol. 73(3) 241–262

Let me know what you think.

http://ttj.sagepub.com/content/73/3/241.full.pdf…

Abstract

This essay examines the work of two prominent progressive Haitian Theologians: Laënnec Hurbon, a Catholic Theologian and former Priest, and Jean Fils-Aimé, a Protestant Theologian and former Pastor in Montreal, and their interaction with the Vodou religion. Both thinkers have written prolifically about the three major religious expressions in Haiti and the enduring religious conflict between Protestantism, Catholicism, and Vodou in the Caribbean nation. The history of relations between Christianity—both Protestant and Catholic—and Vodou in Haiti is marked by a high degree of combativeness, hostility, and discomfort. To resolve the religious tension between Haitian Vodou and Haitian Christianity, Hurbon has suggested a frank ecumenical dialogue between Vodou, Catholicism, and Protestantism, and carefully demonstrated the legitimation of Vodou in the Haitian experience and life. In the same line of thought, Fils-Aimé has recommended an inter-religious dialogue between the two religious traditions, and brilliantly argued for the inculturation of the Vodou faith in Haitian Protestantism and culture. Through their work, both thinkers continue to campaign for more religious tolerance, pluralism, and religious inclusivism in Haitian society. I am suggesting that the Catholic theologian Laënnec Hurbon in his classic work Dieu dans le vaudou haı¨tien (1972) has inaugurated what we phrase the Christian–Vodouist compromissory tradition. Following the footsteps of Hurbon, Fils-Aimé in his controversial and learned work Vodou, je me souviens, published in 2007, has done for Haitian Protestantism what Hurbon has achieved for Haitian Catholicism—pushing forward the idea of the inculturation of Vodou culture and practices in Protestant Christianity in Haiti—within the framework of a Protestant– Vodouist compromissory tradition.