Spirit – driven beliefs, superstitions age-old magic are very common in the Caribbean region where ancient old wives’ tales have been passed on to today. Traditions and customs are held on to within each island in the Caribbean with mystic folkloric stories and fairytales particularly about Caribbean Voodoo playing a part in today’s modern world.
Sorcery, wizardry, shape – changing, spells, witchcraft, and paranormal influence the parables used by parents in teaching their kids about right and wrong. Every community has its own ingrained legends and myths influenced by the supernatural realm – some are much bizarre than others like Caribbean Voodoo. These range from a belief that a cow’s urine can cure the baldness of a guy, to cravings during pregnancy which is believed to cause birth – marks, and a bout of hiccups that signals a growth spurt. In this article, we take a look at some of the most well known Caribbean voodoo superstitions worth taking note of.
Carribean Voodoo Superstitions
It’s considered good luck in Jamaica if a baby pees on you but it’s also bad luck to get married on a Monday. You risk a baby developing a stutter if you cut its baby hair before it can talk but its good luck to pinch the bridge the baby’s nose every day. Another one is planting a jasmine tree too close to the house, it’s believe to weaken the strength of the resident of the house which is why the best trees to plant are banana, mango, coconut or avocado. Another one is that a house should be built with its front door facing sunrise and the back door facing sunset. According to Caribbean Voodoo, if one wants to get rid of an unwanted visitor, the occupant should sprinkle a broomwith water and leave it behind the door.
In St. Lucia the superstitions that survive to this day include the belief that if a woman opens an umbrella indoors, she’ll never get married. Another one is if you crawl on your knees, you’ll cause an argument to brew that’ll result in great tension among the occupants of the house. If an unmarried woman wears a new ring on her left ring finger, it’s enough for a family to disown a daughter. Dressing black underwear will keep bad spirits away and make one sleep better. If you get lost, according to Caribbean voodoo, one should just take off its clothes and turn them inside out as it will help you find your way home.
In the country of Tobago, children are warned to not pick up copper coins if they find one in the street because it might be cursed with an evil spell. If you accidentally bite your tongue, it means that someone remembers you or bad – mouthing you. If a wife has a second toe that’s bigger than her first it means that she will be superior of her husband. However, if one gets his/ her feet swept over by a broom, he/ she will remain unmarried for life. Are you worried that an evil spirit is following you? According to Caribbean Voodoo, then one should walk through the front door backwards to prevent it from following you in.
In the country of Barbados, a certain type of ancient Caribbean Voodoo power handed down by word through generation is prevalent today in a watered – down form. Many islanders believe that its potent force can bring good fortune or the opposite if it’s used properly. In some local stores, at the back of their shelves, owners put up fascinating products like soaps, sprays, or candles to prevent evil away. They also have some potions that claims it can attract a new partner and other assorted paraphernalia that’s associated with luck.
Saturday is horseracing day in this country which is a time of great excitement. Small crowds usually gather to watch and they stuff their pockets with loose change. Bets are usually placed in hurried secret exchanges with each transaction blessed by good deities – this is sort of a simple voodoo belief that’s equivalent when you cross your fingers and say a wish. Spells are cast to also give the horse an extra power or to weaken the competition. The ground are also being checked to ensure that there’s no voodoo doll or some form of evil trickery such as a buried dead dog.
In the country of Grenada, all popular folkloric stories center on a trio of characters:
- Anancy: a West African spider; known to be a trickster-god
- La Diablesse: the devil - woman and Ligaroo which was derived from the French word loup garou meaning werewolf.
According to Caribbean voodoo, if one want to avoid the wrath of these feared spirits, it is very important that one should stay away from forests, dark corners, and graveyards especially at night and do no wrong.
Santeria and Caribbean Voodoo
Both Caribbean Voodoo and Santeria are religions but they have a different belief system. Let’s start with the Voodoo explanation. For instance, Caribbean Voodoo is also known as Vodou or Vodoun. There are two main branches of the religion; Haitian Voodoo and the New Orleans (Louisiana) Voodoo. Caribbean voodoo is an African Diasporic Religion that came together from the traditional African religious practices of several tribes.
Some of tribes were rivals forced that survive and depend on one another under the conditions of slavery. It included the following:
These people united their practices in an effort to survive, and created a ritual order, also known as “regleman” in order to honor and give each tribe’s spirits their moment of worship. These practices were also influenced through syncretism with French Catholicism.
Evidence of this can be seen in the use of Catholic saint images to represent the Loa (spirits) honored in Voodoo. The Loa (spirits) of Voodoo are composed of the following:
- Rada Lwa (the vudu and orishas of the Fon and Yoruba people)
- Petwo Lwa (the fiery spirits of the Congo, the Taino and modern – Haitian people)
- Gede Lwa (the spirits of the dead)
Veves, ornate cornmeal drawings that is laid out on the ground or on tables, are used to call the Loa in Voodoo, but not in Santeria.
Caribbean voodoo does have an initiated priesthood, but initiation is not a requirement for participation in the religion and the vast majority of vodouisants are non-initiates. Magical wanga and gris-gris are often used in Haitian Voodoo’s magic. Caribbean voodoo’s primary liturgical language is called Kreyol which is the local dialect of Haitian French.