(3 mins read)
The annual January the 10th voodoo festival held in Benin has been restricted due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Though Benin never officially went into lockdown, it has been affected by the pandemic with 3,300 confirmed cases and only 44 deaths .The Beninese government have implemented restrictions on large gatherings and limited flights into the country meaning fewer tourists and devotees attended Benin’s annual Vodun festival than usual on Sunday.
This saddened a lot of people including intrigued tourists as the Voodoo festival is a cultural event celebrating the traditional religion, beliefs and practices that dates back centuries. Voodoo is a religion born in this West African, practiced in Benin, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria country and built around the forces of nature and the link with ancestors whose representations can be objects or natural elements, Voodoo or Vodun as it is locally refereed, has around tens of millions of practitioners. Infact the religion can be traced all the way to the African diaspora in countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico and America. where this is a common religion there. Some people even call it new years day in benin.
Voodoo priest Christophe Kanankin Gbedohoui, shared his views on this years festival saying “We used to gather and celebrate with pomp and circumstance on January 10th. But with the Covid-19, we stayed in our convent and reduced the number to avoid its spread. We pray that it will stay away from us forever.”
January 10th has been an annual public holiday since 1998 by President Mathieu Kerekou to celebrate this expression of spirituality in the country with deities of Voodoo or Vodoun receive tributes and offerings from believers.
However this year large gathering were restricted and celebrations were significantly scaled-down in the capital Porto-Novo, Cotonou and on Grand Popo beach.
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