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1 Nurturing the Nurturer Preparations for zili Athna C. PattersonOrazem, University of Florida 115. Oh sweep the house, zili is on the way. Oh water the house, zili is on the way. Perfume the house, zili is on the way. Manbo zili is a woman whos all lit up.1 56. Oh zili! Oh zili! Your house needs to be sprinkled! If it doesnt have lotion, We will sprinkle it with water.2 Th e rather touching song 115 from J.L.s collection reflects preparations made for the arrival of zili. These attentions are reminiscent of alters made for zili as well as preparations traditionally made for women arriving at a house. zilis alters often include nurturing and pretty objects that would appeal to a feminine woman: hearts, satin, colored feathers, flowers, dolls decorated foods and toiletry items Traditionally preparations for womens arrivals include cleaning, perfuming and filling the house with floral arrangements. zili is an important female lwa as underlined by the title Manbo, therefor she requires such respectful attentions as these. Why is Manbo zili all lit up? Likely because she is excited to be visiting or returning home. Often when people are excited their eyes shine, their expressions become uplifted and their faces are described as beaming or lit up. For women this joyous and energetic a ppearance i s often enhanced with make up that conceal s tired shadows, adds healthy color to pale cheeks and even literally add s shimmer to the skin. This very human characterization is in keeping with the desires of the flirtatious, beautiful, pampered, makeuploving zili. A similar song appears in Marcelins collection song 56. It also includes the sprinkling of a space with water, one type of libation offered to lwa The mention of lotion, another generally perfumed item most often used by women, supports the theme of song 115. Both songs relate zili to the house which in the midst of a ceremony may also refer to the Vodou temple. They indicate that zili requires nurturing offerings perfume, cleanliness and lotion as well as nonalcoholic l ibations. Watering a house is an interesting symbol ; it illustrates the fact that houses, people and the lwa all require tending just like plants As zili is generally portrayed as a nurturing and correcting influence, it makes sense that she would expect to be nurtured, and have her residence, whether alter or temple, corrected by sweeping and perfuming. Thus these two songs by enumerating activities done to please her, illustrate the nurturing and corrective side of zilis character. 1 Hebblethwaite, Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English Chapter 6 : J.L.s Songs, p.169 2 Hebblethwaite, Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English Chapter 4: Milo Marcelins Songs, p.87


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Nurturing the Nurturer – Preparations for Èzili, Athéna C. Patterson-Orazem
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001362/00022
 Material Information
Title: Nurturing the Nurturer – Preparations for Èzili, Athéna C. Patterson-Orazem
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
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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.
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001362:00022

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Nurturing the Nurturer Preparations for Ezili
Athena C. Patterson-Orazem, University of Florida



115. 56.
Oh sweep the house, Ezili is on the way. Oh Ezili! Oh Ezili!
Oh water the house, Ezili is on the way. Your house needs to be sprinkled!
Perfume the house, Ezili is on the way. If it doesn't have lotion,
Manbo Ezili is a woman who's all lit up.1 We will sprinkle it with water.2



The rather touching song 115 from J.L.'s collection reflects preparations made for the
arrival of Ezili. These attentions are reminiscent of alters made for Ezili as well as preparations
traditionally made for women arriving at a house. Ezili's alters often include nurturing and pretty
objects that would appeal to a feminine woman: hearts, satin, colored feathers, flowers, dolls,
decorated foods and toiletry items. Traditionally, preparations for women's arrivals include
cleaning, perfuming and filling the house with floral arrangements. Ezili is an important female
lwa, as underlined by the title 'Manbo,' therefore she requires such respectful attentions as these.
Why is Manbo Ezili "all lit up"? Likely because she is excited to be visiting or returning
home. Often when people are excited their eyes 'shine', their expressions become uplifted and
their faces are described as 'beaming' or 'lit up'. For women this joyous and energetic
appearance is often enhanced with make-up that conceals tired shadows, adds 'healthy' color to
pale cheeks, and even literally adds shimmer to the skin. This very human characterization is in
keeping with the desires of the flirtatious, beautiful, pampered, make-up-loving Ezili.
A similar song appears in Marcelin's collection song 56. It also includes the sprinkling
of a space with water, one type of libation offered to lwa. The mention of lotion, another
generally-perfumed item most often used by women, supports the theme of song 115. Both songs
relate Ezili to the house which, in the midst of a ceremony, may also refer to the Vodou temple.
They indicate that Ezili requires nurturing offerings perfume, cleanliness and lotion as well
as non-alcoholic libations.
Watering a house is an interesting symbol; it illustrates the fact that houses, people and
the lwa all require tending, just like plants. As Ezili is generally portrayed as a nurturing and
correcting influence, it makes sense that she would expect to be nurtured, and have her residence,
whether alter or temple, 'corrected' by sweeping and perfuming. Thus these two songs, by
enumerating activities done to please her, illustrate the nurturing and corrective side of Ezili's
character.





1 Hebblethwaite, Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English, Chapter 6: J.L.'s Songs, p.169
2 Hebblethwaite, Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English, Chapter 4: Milo Marcelin's Songs, p.87