This is a list of Vodun holidays. It is by no means complete. These are just the ones I know of and have gathered from a variety of people and sources. Different cultures have different days. Some synchronize them with Wiccan or Catholic holidays. Follow your own soul on this.
January 10: “Voodoo Day”, or Traditions Day, which is celebrated in Benin and by some in the diaspora to give thanks for and remember our African heritage and spirituality.
January 17: Yoruba Feast of Ogun
February 2: Feast of Oya
Sometime in February or March: The Festival of Obatala and Oshun
March 19: Feast of Osayin
March 25: Feast of Oshun
April 23: Santeria feast of Ogun
May 25: Feast of Ochossi (If hosting an event, you must have a dance on this day.)
June 16: Anniversary of the death of Marie Laveau, the most famous New Orleans Voudou priestess in U.S. history
June 21: Feast of Babalu Aye
June 29: Feast of Eleggua (This is an excellent day to do readings, so if you’re hosting, have an area just for this where people can have some privacy.)
Friday closest to August 15: Festa de Boa Morte (Festival of the Good Death) in Bahia Brazil.
Last Friday of August: Feast of Oshun in Oshogbo, the town in Nigeria whose official Orisha is Oshun. Yes, you can get tickets. Call your travel agent. Videos of the Festival of Oshun.
September 8: Feast of Oshun
September 10: Birthday of Marie Laveau
September 24: Feast of Obatala
September 29: Feast of Eleggua, also Initiation Day
September 30: Feast of Shango (Must serve some spicy foods on this day, and if you can drink but don’t get too drunk. It’s also a good day for sparring, demos, and/or wrestling matches.)
October 4: Feast of Orunmila
October 24: Feast of Erinle
November 1-2: Day of the Dead – Synchronized with the Catholic All Saints’ Day, it’s a day when the ancestors are honored. Different cultures have different ways of doing it, but generally, food offerings are given to the dead.
Day of the Dead in Haiti
November 25: Feast of Oya
December 4: Feast of Shango
December 17: Feast of Babalu Aye
December 31: Feast of Yemaya
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That January 10th date used to drive me crazy trying to figue out which spirit’s day it was. Turns out, it’s the Benin Independence Day (like the 4th of July). Voodoo is as much cultural/political a it is spiritual.
In New Orleans, by tradition, the bid day used to be June 23rd, St. John’s Eve. While this also just happens to be the summer solstice, it appears top also have political overtones. St. John was the patron Saint of the French Kings. The day hasn’t been celebrated in France since the Revolution ousted the kings. But in former French colonies, it still exist. In Quebec (Canada) is is the main holiday. In New Orleans it was the main day for ceremonies along the bayous (waterways). Basically, it simply borrowed a European day and made it, its own.
I recognize that “Voodoo existed before the word Voodoo existed,” meaning that it is a pre-literate experience that lends itself more to music, dance and drawing than to words, or chronological calculations. So, dates, or calendar IDs are of necessity, borrowed and synchronized.
In New Orleans Voodoo hides in plain sight. The movies, pop culture and some pagan oriented entities have made a stigma of it and put a cloak of embarrassment over it. So, to avoid the stereotypes, it exists hidden in plain sight; in jazz, in dance, in funerals, in Mardi Gras and by tradition and consent in the Catholic Church. On Mardi Gras, voodoo societies (basically egunguns) appear, but no one recognizes them because their costumes blend in with the crowd. They are Mardi Gras Indians, Skull and Bone men (Ghédé) and Babydolls (“en bebe” associated with St. Ann or Aida Quido).
Some people are into “goth,” vampires and new age occult are trying to insist that because All Saints Day exist here (it is a very big and important religious day) that October 31st (Halloween) ought to be eve of Ghédé’s (who they ignorantly refer to by the Haitian exclusive term, Baron Samedi) day. To me, they are just grown ups looking for an excuse to party on Halloween and have idea that Vampire movies and Voodoo are not one and the same.
Recently, there has been a move to begin celebrating September 10th, the birthday of the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. This is much more respected with locals and has a much greater meaning.
P.S. I see you are into African foods and cooking. Did you know that world famous New Orleans cuisine is actually African? The dominant African ethnic group in Louisiana were the Bambara who were specifically imported to the area because of their familiarity with rice cultivation. All the famous New Orleans dishes are rice based; gumbos, jambalayas, étouffées, boudin, etc. In fact, the word “gumbo” is African, meaning okra.
I think Marie Laveau’s birthday should be added to the list of holidays since she was one of the most famous priestesses in U.S. history. She helped many to get back to their roots, and is responsible for the preservation of a good deal that would have been lost from both African and the regional Native American mysticism.
Ive always known the feast of Yemaya to be on September 7th. So I am just curious as to why is it posted on here as December 31?
Different regions and traditions have different dates. So tell us about yours.