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1 The Elderly Guardian of Vodou Samantha Howcroft University of Florida Marcelins S ong 1 Atibon Legba, arrives at the gate, you are so old! Papa Legba is in the crossroads, dont you see how old you are, phew! Atibon arrives on the path, youre so old! Guarding gates, watching crossroads, and protecting homes, Legba oversees many important aspects of Vodou ceremonies and everyday life. Atibon Legba, the elderly manifestation of Legba, is the first lwa honored with song at ceremonies; this shows his importance to the Vodouists and serves a practical ceremonial purpose As the keeper of keys and the guardian of gates, Legba can arrive at the gate and open it to [arrive] on the path, metaphorically opening the path to the ceremony for the other lwa The path he opens for the lwa is the poto mitan, the symbolic center post around which temple ceremonies occur and lwa enter Marcelins song illustrates Legbas role: first opening the gate so the ceremony can begin, then in the crossroads entering the human realm, and finally on the pathway into the ceremony towards the Vodouists present Atibon Legbas extreme o ld age does not negatively affect the way he is viewed by Vodouists; if anything, it adds to their respect for him. The song repeatedly exclaims about Atibon Legbas age, but then asks him if he [sees] how old [he is] . This question demonstrates that Atibon Legbas actions do not match his elderly appearance A tibon Legba progresses from the gate, to the crossroads, and to the path i n the song in rapid progression. He displays incredible power though he appears weak, which creates an aweinspired respect amongst practitioners and viewers alike.


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The Elderly Guardian of Vodou, Samantha Howcroft
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001362/00016
 Material Information
Title: The Elderly Guardian of Vodou, Samantha Howcroft
Series Title: HAI3930, ANT3930, LAS3930, REL3938
Physical Description: Course Material
Creator: Raitano, Megan
Publisher: Hebblethwaite, Benjamin
Raitano, Megan
Felima, Crystal
Place of Publication: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Megan Raitano.
Publication Status: Unpublished
General Note: This is a collection of student essays from the Haitian Vodou class offered at the Universtiy of Florida. These essays are the results of a combination of in class material and independent research on individually chosen topics. The writing styles, citation styles, and views expressed in the essays are established by the students and do not necessarily reflect those of the professor or the Archive.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001362:00016

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The Elderly Guardian of Vodou
Samantha Howcroft, University of Florida

Marcelin's Song 1

Atibon Legba, arrives at the gate,
you are so old!
Papa Legba is in the crossroads,
don't you see how old you are, phew!
Atibon arrives on the path,
you're so old!

Guarding gates, watching crossroads, and protecting homes, Legba oversees many
important aspects of Vodou ceremonies and everyday life. Atibon Legba, the elderly
manifestation of Legba, is the first Iwa honored with song at ceremonies; this shows his
importance to the Vodouists and serves a practical ceremonial purpose. As the keeper of keys
and the guardian of gates, Legba can "arrive at the gate" and open it to "[arrive] on the path,"
metaphorically opening the path to the ceremony for the other Iwa. The "path" he opens for the
Iwa is the poto mitan, the symbolic center-post around which temple ceremonies occur and Iwa
enter. Marcelin's song illustrates Legba's role: first opening the gate so the ceremony can begin,
then in the crossroads entering the human realm, and finally on the pathway into the ceremony
towards the Vodouists present.
Atibon Legba's extreme old age does not negatively affect the way he is viewed by
Vodouists; if anything, it adds to their respect for him. The song repeatedly exclaims about
Atibon Legba's age, but then asks him if he "[sees] how old [he is]." This question demonstrates
that Atibon Legba's actions do not match his elderly appearance. Atibon Legba progresses from
the gate, to the crossroads, and to the path in the song in rapid progression. He displays
incredible power though he appears weak, which creates an awe-inspired respect amongst
practitioners and viewers alike.