Day of The Dead- Fet Gede

Day of The Dead- Fet Gede

Wednesday, November 1st

For the past 37 years, La Source Ancienne Ounfo – A New Orleans based Vodou society – has celebrated the Day of the Dead/Fet Gede (“Geh-day”) with an annual Vodou ceremony to invoke the Gede. It is soothing and reassuring to know that our Dead are not gone, that we can come together in community to honor and visit with them. In return, our memory of the Dead keeps their spirits alive and present.
This year, on November 1st, 2017, the traditional celebration and remembrance will take place in the lobby of the New Orleans Healing Center. THE EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

Photo by: Jeffrey Ehrenreich

Get Down With the Dead:

  • Parade of the Dead (More information coming soon)
  • Dead/Le Mo’/Ancestor Altars by various artists. Please bring photos of your Dead or remembrances for the main altar for the Dead (For more information on creating an altar click HERE)
  • Day of the Dead/Fet Gede market (For more info on vending click HERE)
  • Ceremony by Sallie Ann Glassman and initiated members of La Source Ancienne Ounfo and master drummers in the shadow of Ricardo Pustanio’s new Swamp Witch of Maurepas fountain sculpture. Monica Rose Kelly will create live art during the ceremony.
  • Please wear white with purple head scarves or purple and black – Gede’s colors – and bring an offering for the Gede or your Ancestors
  • Pot luck supper. EVERYONE PLEASE BRING A DISH!!
  • Procession to feed the Dead, say the praise names of the Beloved Dead, pass flame and say prayers from numerous traditions for the Dead.
  • Experience the New Orleans Healing Center and the many businesses and organizations that comprise it in a whole new light. Our lobby will be decked for the occasion.
  • In honoring the Dead, we embrace the meaning of our own lives and open space for generations yet to come.
  • Gede likes: rum, cigars, sunglasses with one lens, top hats, flat breads, skeletons, skulls, peppers, Day of the Dead figurines, crosses, coffins, coffin nails, goat cheese, goat stew, etc.

History

The Mexican Days of the Dead are the days at the end of October and the beginning of November, when the veil separating the Living and the Dead is at its most thin. This is when the Dead come back to visit the living. The children visit first, on Oct 31st, the familial adults on November 1st, and finally the unremembered Dead on November 3rd.  It is the time of year when summer has ended and Nature is moving towards death.  In Mexico, elaborate displays transform graves into altars and thousands of candles illuminate the path between worlds to give warmth to the returning Dead. Tables are set with food for the Dead and families picnic on top of graves all night.

The Days of the Dead coincide with “Fet Gede,” the festival for the Gede, a family of Haitian Vodou spirits, who are the patrons of the Dead.  The entire month of November is dedicated to his celebrations in Haiti, but he is especially honored with ceremonies during the first days of the month.  Death transforms from a manacing and fearful  reaper, to a “Comically grotesque” (Andy Antippas) equalizer. Abandon your posturing if you want to avoid being the brunt of his ridicule. Gede is a trickster, who stands at the crossroads between life and death. Cocky, and crude, and often embarrassing, he is patron of death, sex, and regeneration. However, he is also the patron of young children and a great healer, when there is a life or death situation.  His colors are purple, black and white and he characteristically wears a top hat and tails or grave-digger’s garb and sunglasses – often with only one lens  —  either because he sees between worlds or in reference to his “One-eyed snake!”

DONATE HERE

Help keep the ceremony free and open to the public. donate to Our fiscal sponsors, La source ancienne ounfo. all donations are tax exempt.

 

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Altars

  • Sallie Ann Glassman- Candle Altar

    • Be sure to experience the altar at the top of the grand staircase, created for those who would like to light flame to honor and light the way for her/his Beloved Dead and Ancestors. Altars stand at the axis of the Crossroads between the Visible and Invisible realms. A bowl of fresh water is available for cleansing of your aura before you approach the altar. Another bowl of water is on the altar, where you can dip your fingers and connect with your Loved Ones within the Waters of Return. As you light your candles on the altar, the veil between the Living and the Dead parts. Your candle flame lights the way for the Beloved Dead to see you. Thank you for your donations for a votive ($5) or a glass novena ($10), which help sustain the Day of the Dead/Fet Gede as a free community event. Thanks to Joey at Arbor House for beautiful altar flowers.

  • Greta Gladney- Eternity Tree

    • Old bottles, branches, ribbon, photos, stones, glass, water, chimes, soil, candles

    • Greta Gladney is a New Orleans Native, wife, mother of four and grandmother of four

  • Beverly Marie Wallace-Sellers- Memento Mori

    • Papier Mache multi-media altar, combination of traditional Dia De Los Muertos Altar and incorporation of symbolism from various culture’s ancestral remembrance

    • Beverly is initiated in Haitian Vodou as a Mambo Asogwe. Her art is inspired by her life experiences, spirituality, and the world around her. She creates art in various forms whether oil paintings, sequin flags (Drapo), or multi-media pieces. Art is her mediation; it has brought her joy for many years and she hopes it brings joy to others.

  • Liliana Ruiz-Healy, Vanessa Degrassi- Mexican-Inspired Altar

    • Lilliana; Culinary Plant-Based Nutritionist, Chef and Artist, Herbalist, Yogi, Wanderer. She believes food and herbs have the power to heal in a body, mind and spirit level. Passionate about spirituality, healing, movement, breath, energies, astrology, nature, music and words. Raised in Mexico City, in a family of Irish descendants, where both cultures showed a lot of respect towards the non-living.

    • Vanessa is an artist, musician, crafter of creative healing foods of herbal elixirs; an explorer, an adventurer, and a lover of cars. She lives to nurture, and puts a lot of thoughtful detail into all of her work.

  • Marcela Lineiro Singleton

    • Multi-dimensional, mixed media sculptural installation to honor the dead

    • Marcela is a native of Los Angeles that has made home in New Orleans since 1997. Her work explores the existence of the sacred in the mundane.

  • Jan Jennings Crofford

    • Altar will pay homage to several departed musical artists as well as other ancestors. I will be using a piece that I will bring, so will not need a table.

  • Kesha Star Young

  • The 9 crosses represent examples of syncretism, attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought, a time when humans were transported to non-native lands and forced to hide their beliefs in foreign language, religion and art. Each cross represents a different Orisha from the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. An artifact made of found objects that slaves might have hanging in their homes, appearing Christian in shape, but colors and objects representative of native belief systems. Art as a form of resistance to oppression.

  • I am a self-taught cultural artist. In the late nineties, art became a tool to interpret my studies in cultural anthropology and social transformation at San Francisco’s California Institute of Integral Studies. My work was displayed in academic showcases aimed at deconstructing facets of society including identity, education, politics and the environment. With the turn of the century, I moved to New Orleans and became entranced with the folk art and vodou traditions of the local culture. As I wandered the ancient streets, objects would magically appear and serve as inspiration. My work started to solidify into representations of these moments of personal discovery. My efforts have surfaced into multiple categories exploring similarity and difference in culture.

  • Artisans’ Well NOLA

  • Our altar will be a replica of how the resting place of a family member is decorated with flowers, and offerings brought by his/her living relatives who come with the deceased’s favorite dishes of food, tequila and music. In other words, having a family picnic with the “participation” of the dead.

    Dishes will be laid out on a colorful picnic table cloth, bottles of fruit juices and tequila, and hopefully a life size picture of a family gathered around the grave site of a loved one.

  • Ricardo Pustanio

    • Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte (Spanish for Our Lady of the Holy Death) or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Holy Death), is a female deity (or folk saint depending on school of thought) in Mexican folk religion, particularly Folk Catholicism, venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Though the origins of the worship of Our Lady of the Holy Death are subject to debate, it is most likely a syncretism between pre-Columbian Mesoamerican religion and Spanish culture. Mesoamerica had always maintained a certain reverence towards death, which manifested itself among the religious practices of ancient Mexico, including in the Aztec religion. Death was personified in Aztec and other cultures in the form of humans with half their flesh missing, symbolizing the duality of life and death. From their ancestors the Aztecs inherited the gods Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl, the lord and lady of Mictlan, the realm of those dead who died of natural causes. In order for the deceased to be accepted into Mictlan, offerings to the lord and lady of death were necessary. In European Christian tradition, many paintings employed skeletons to symbolize human mortality. This altar also will page homage to those that have passed on and those to be prayed for.

  • Jan Jennings Crofford

 

  • Altar will pay homage to several departed musical artists as well as other ancestors.

  • Kesha Star Young

    • The 9 crosses represent examples of syncretism, attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought, a time when humans were transported to non-native lands and forced to hide their beliefs in foreign language, religion and art. Each cross represents a different Orisha from the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. An artifact made of found objects that slaves might have hanging in their homes, appearing Christian in shape, but colors and objects representative of native belief systems. Art as a form of resistance to oppression.

    • I am a self-taught cultural artist. In the late nineties, art became a tool to interpret my studies in cultural anthropology and social transformation at San Francisco’s California Institute of Integral Studies. My work was displayed in academic showcases aimed at deconstructing facets of society including identity, education, politics and the environment. With the turn of the century, I moved to New Orleans and became entranced with the folk art and vodou traditions of the local culture. As I wandered the ancient streets, objects would magically appear and serve as inspiration. My work started to solidify into representations of these moments of personal discovery. My efforts have surfaced into multiple categories exploring similarity and difference in culture.

  • Britney Penouilh

    • Britney Penouilh will construct an altar titled “At the Mouth of Two Rivers” depicting the Mississippi River as the sacred waters in an ancient consecration ritual.  With an image of the mouth of two rivers, and a vessel navigating the waters, offerings include items of locality: Spanish moss, oyster shells, sea shells, cypress knees, local flowers, salt, honey, peppers, breads, and animal bones.  Precious imported offerings include: bird feathers, leather, beads, gemstones, herbs, and aromatics.

  • Sallie Ann Glassman

    • Day of the Dead altar to honor the Dead/Le Mo/Ancestors with three tiers and an eclectic mix of Mexican, Haitian and other items. Photos of beloved dead are attached to the altar cloth.

    • Manbo (priestess) Sallie Ann Glassman has been practicing Vodou in New Orleans since 1976. She was initiated in Port-au-Prince Haiti in 1995 by Oungans Edgard Jean Louis and Silva Joseph. With her Vodou society, La Source Ancienne, she conducts weekly ceremonies in her Bywater temple, Achade Meadows, as well as numerous public ceremonies throughout the year in various locations.  Sallie Ann is the artist for the Enochian Tarot Deck, artist and co-creator of the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot and author and artist of the book Vodou Visions. She has created this altar installation for The Day of the Dead/Fet Gede in her temple for the last 37 years. Altars stand at the crossroads between the Visible and Invisible worlds/ the realm of the Living and the Dead. They are at the crossroads where Spirit meets human prayer.