In the language of West African Fon, "Voodoo" means spirit or deity. Voodoo knows only one god, called Bondieu (French "Good God"). Because he is too powerful and mighty to turn to him directly, there are numerous Loa (spirit-beings) as medium.
However, the sacrificial offerings and the use of white and black magic, which are mostly associated with voodoo in Western countries, are only a part of a living religion.
The Voodoo cult developed from the fusion of the Yoruba and the Nok culture, approx. 200 and 500 years B.C. in the area of the today's Nigeria. Voodoo is spread mainly in the West African states Benin, Ghana and Togo - and the slave trade since the 16th century brought it also to South America, parts of North America and the Caribbean. In Benin and Haiti Voodoo is officially recognized as religion.
Our photographer Bruno Barbier travelled to the International Ouidah Festival, which takes place annually on January 10 in Benin and is dedicated to the art and culture of Voodoo.