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Years ago, vacation meant skiing in the Rockies or white sands under our feet while enjoying the pristine blue waters around the Caribbean Basin. But in the new era, pop culture is now dominated by vampires, ghost hunting, and extreme sports. Consequently, vacation tours found a new market for the more adventurous tourist. And for those who wish to venture into the unknown, nothing could be more mystifying than a trip to the realm of Voodoo – the Caribbean Isles.
While most Caribbean cruises offer the traditional tours like island visits, dream weddings, and honeymoon packages, it may be possible to experience a unique Caribbean vacation in islands where the Voodoo religion is still known to be practiced. Although Voodoo has been popularly associated with witchcraft or primitive dark rituals, it is actually recognized by anthropologists as an authentic religion brought over to the region by Africans during the slave trades in the early centuries. The mystique that revolves around this ancient religion is rooted from the way media has characterized its practice. We associate it with witchcraft, magic, spells, and voodoo dolls with pins. Their rituals are rumored to involve animal and human sacrifice while witch doctors or shamans are said to have the power to bring back the dead.
Another peculiarity of Voodoo and other similar Creole religions is that practices are considered a guarded secret with believers less likely to let outsiders in. The situation lends more to the mystery as well as fueling speculations and curiosity about its true nature. As such, even the best Caribbean cruise may not openly offer any specific tour package related to Creole religions. There are no fetish markets in the Caribbean like those in Togo where you can buy bat wings or monkey skulls. But a visit to the Rose Hall Plantation in Jamaica is possible where the ghost of Voodoo mistress Annie Palmer is still said to be haunting the area. For any experience related to Creole religions, it may be necessary to ask locals as these are considered trips off the beaten path.
In Port-au-Prince, locals perform Voodoo rituals for tourists and anthropologists which often involve cutting off chicken heads, dancing, and rattles. However, these are mere shows put on for the curious and practitioners confirm that these are not accurate depictions of the actual rituals. Tourists can also visit cemeteries where many claim to experience paranormal activity. Those who practice Voodoo fear that their dead can be possessed by evil spirits and come to life. Zombie is actually derived from the Creole word “zombie” which is the term used for dead people who have been brought back to life under the control of a shaman. As it is unlikely that a zombie can be spotted trudging around, adventurous visitors may better enjoy diving with sharks in the Bahamas rather than walking around cemeteries.
As much as it may be interesting to see a man bite off a chicken head while dancing under the moonlight, a trip to the Caribbean is still remembered for relaxing days lying on the sand basking under the sun or snorkeling under clear tropical waters. Then again, there is no harm in looking for a Voodoo artifact that may give you enough luck to visit the glorious Caribbean islands as often as you can.