Photos from Hounfo Racine Deesse Dereyale’s 2014 Fet Kouzen celebrations.
Kiri is pleased, and Dantor is happy: these two have a strong connection to one another.
Dantor claims Kiri as her child.
Kiri is rewarded with a warm hug from Dantor.
Kiri impresses Dantor with her strength.
Kiri salutes Dantor, who tests her.
Erzulie Dantor was the next spirit to come down in possession. As a mother, she loves children and very quickly picked up Emily for a cuddle.
Ghede continues to dance energetically to the accompaniment of his songs.
Ghede entertains the guests by dancing with his walking stick.
A Ghede slipped in after Ogou Feray left. He drags Il Faut Que Sa around the room for fun.
Feray watches as the spike sits in the flame. The spike is given to Gabrielle to take home and complete her healing.
The railroad spike is set on fire, acquiring the heat and power of Feray.
Next, Feray soaks a railroad spike in rum from his bottle.
Using his machete, Feray gets the fire good and hot.
Gabrielle has pain in her lower back and hip, which Feray heals for her. He begins by creating a fire of Florida Water and rum.
Old friends Toni and Feray are happy to see each other again.
Feray has some words for Jaden.
Feray has a unique sense of humour, and managed to make Gabrielle laugh.
Feray enjoyed Gabrielle’s company.
Feray is quite fond of Gabrielle, and spends a great deal of time with her.
Kiri prepares to turn under Feray’s machete.
While Emily naps, Kiri salutes Feray.
Feray offers Gabrielle a drink from his bottle.
Salutes over, Feray hugs Gabrielle using his machete.
Gabreielle completes her salute by turning under Feray’s machete.
Gabrielle performs the salute to greet Feray, while he proclaims his happiness to see so many new faces at the Hounfo.
Ogou Feray and Jacquie hug in greeting.
Filomez sat with Gabrielle for the remainder of her visit, and enjoyed her champagne very much.
Filomez walks closely with Gabrielle, and asked for Gabrielle to sit next to her. Filomez was more than happy to pose for a picture.
Despite carrying Emily, Kiri is still ready to greet Filomez.
Gabrielle carries a flower given to her by Filomez, while Kiri waits her turn to greet the lwa and Emily takes a nap.
The lwa Filomez came down in possession, and here greets Il Faut Que Sa.
The salute comes to an end with a final turn.
They turn with each other, using the asson to sound their movements.
To complete the salute, the houngans prepare to turn together.
Houngan Alistair prepares for the final salute.
They use the language of the asson to communicate.
As part of their salute to Papa Loko, the first houngan, Houngan Liam and Houngan Alistair tawk asson together.
She is very much at home with a tcha-tcha in her hand.
Emily proves she has taken to Vodou by shaking a tcha-tcha as the family and guests sing.
Legba also decides to bless Jacquie.
Jacquie receives her hug.
Guest Jacquie whirls in her salute, while Legba starts to feel the New Zealand cold.
Gabrielle also receives a hug.
Guest Gabrielle clasps hands with Papa Legba.
Jaden is pleased to be remembered by Papa Legba, whom he had previously met at Cauldrons PaganFest 2014.
Again, Legba finishes greeting with a hug.
Guest Jaden clasps hands in greeting with Legba.
Guest Toni also receives a hug from Legba.
Legba finishes greeting Kiri with a hug.
Guest Kiri is next to greet Legba
As an old man and grandfather, Papa Legba loves children. Once he had greeted all the members of the house, he was eager to pick up Emily.
Papa Legba greets Hounfo Racine Deesse Dereyale’s newest member, Adieuci.
When the formal greeting is complete, Legba hugs Mache Cherche.
When Papa Legba comes down in possession on Houngan Liam, he is given a chair to sit on. Mache Cherche greets him and gives Legba his bottle.
The first spirit to come down at the ceremony is Papa Legba. Houngna Liam performs the salute, with Il Faut Que Sa assisting.
Emily sits in front of the Poto Mitan. The pe (base) has been decorated with images of the lwa, and the one showing Kouzen is visible behind Emily.
Guests Kiri and Gabrielle dressed for the Fet
Very popular indeed.
Emily was very popular.
Special guest Emily wanted to dress just like the grown-ups for the fet: head wrap and all.
A sequinned drapo (Haitian sequinned flag) takes pride of place on the wall behind the table.
All the vegetables were purchased from a local grocery, putting money back into the community.
Kouzen’s hat sits atop his djakout, which has been decorated with colourful bandannas. The djakout holds Kouzen’s posessions, which he will add to during the course of the fet.
This view shows a bowl of Haitian rice pudding, placed next to a lamp burning in a white enamel bowl.
From this angle, you can see the Haitian foods placed on the table. A bowl of Labouyi, a plantain dessert, sits next to a lamp burning in a three legged pot.
The main table has been added to on the right hand side, where a smaller table holds Kouzen’s cake. To the left, his djakout has been hung next to a Haitian flag.
The entire table has been surrounded by food offerings. At the front, Kouzen’s trademark hat and djakout flank a veve created from iron: a unique form of Haitian art.
Kouzen also likes sweets, and plenty of them! A large bowl of boiled sweets has been added to his pile of vegetables and fruit. A New Zealand classic, fried bread, has also been added to the offerings.
Kouzen loves his food. Because he is a peasant farmer, he is offered plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, along with hearty Haitian staples to sustain him through his hard work. A large container of Haitian style beans and rice has been placed at the left.
Another view of the main table.
The large and small tables, with Milocan veve visible on the right and Haitian flag on the left.
All the candles and bottles for the spirits are kept here for the ceremony, along with items belonging to Kouzen.
A smaller table holds flowers and a cake.
The table is surrounded by frouits and vegetables, in front of which Kouzen’s veve has been drawn.
The table set up for the fet, with lots of food and Kouzen’s accoutrements.
Guest Jaden in front of Erzulie Dantor’s flag.
The Poto Mitan, the central pole, hung with asson and Kouzen’s djakout (woven satchel).
A veve for Milocan, all the spirits, calls the lwa to attend the ceremony.