Haiti celebrated Fete Gede, the Voudoun day of the dead, for the first time since the earthquake killed a quarter of a million and left millions homeless. The festival is both a day of remembrance and an homage to Baron Samedi, the patron Deity of the dead and the graveyard. The following is from the Miami Herald by way of The Wild Hunt:
Like many, he didn’t know exactly where their bodies were put to their final resting place. So he came to the Universal Tomb, an oversized gray and white concrete structure that long symbolized those who had died violent deaths under army rule. Now it is also symbolic of those killed in the quake as survivors placed flowers, beeswax candles and meals around it, pouring the coffee and perfumed Florida Water on the altar. As each approached the tomb, they knocked its walls with their open palms as if to announce their presence. “Sweetheart, I didn’t bring any cigarette or rum, but I am here,” said one man.
The people of Haiti are stoically bracing themselves as Tropical Storm Thomas closes on their island. At the same time Cholera is claiming hundreds of lives. We would do well to remember that no matter who we are or what our station, grief makes brothers of us all.
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