The zembetto is this dancing hay-stack like object. There are some sects of Vodoun that don't have it at all but generally it represents the specific vodoun deity that that sect worships. Ok--so there are definitely people walking around under this little zembetto costume, I am sure...but the official word is "there is no one under the haystack...it is moving all on its own because it is the deity moving it." Goodness, where's your faith? In some sects of vodoun the zembetto is dangerous for women, and not so much for others. THere is so much variety in Voodoo, and it also depends how out in village you are. If you are really out in the bush, a lot of the time women just have to stay in the house, lock the doors, and sometimes shut the lights so that the zembetto does not know you are there or it is baaaaaad news. It's not really a problem by me in Dogbo at all, but my friend has to stay indoors at her post whenever the zembetto is out. SO anyways, we're all pretty convinced that there are people under this haystack so I was pretty excited to hear that they were going to be lifting up the zembettos so we could see at Lokossa. We were standing in the back of the crowd trying to get a look--3 zembettos were lined up to be lifted--and that is when some people noticed that these strange yovos wearing Beninese tissue (clothing) couldn't see what was happening, and they immediately grabbed us and brought us up front to sit with the king, etc.
Pictures: PCVs with the King, Mayor, and President for the VOdoun; Voodoo Day Security--Because you know that when the supernaturaly forces go all willy-nilly, guns are the way to go.
Pictures: 2 of the performances for Voodoo Day. You might notice the woman front and center in the second picture is wrapped in an old "Rugrats" bedsheet...yup...that is Tommy, there. I thought it was pretty awesome.