National Geographic : 1985 Mar
Tumult of drums and voices surrounds the pond. Its mud, valued as a curative, fills one bather's bottle (above). Youngsters wallow for hours to seek coins tossed in as offerings alongwith food and drink in Ougou Feray'scolor, red; his followers, as well, usually wear red. Filledwith his power, young women dance in ecstasy (facingpage). Ougou's role as lover of Ezili Freda, an importantspiritat the Ville Bonheur rites,ties the two festivals, some believe. But here at Plainedu Nord, animal sacrificeplays a more prominent part. 406 After a bull is cleaned and perfumed, it is slaughtered by machete (below) and offered to Ougou. Celebrantsthen drink the animal's bloodfrom a gourd.Another rite called pase poul, frequently performed as a cure, involves brushinga chicken against a patient'sbody so it may absorbthe malady, then twisting off the fowl's head. A number of those attending this Ougou-St.James celebrationare outsiders, just as many Plainedu Nord villagers, mindful of their church'sstrong disapproval, have left for pilgrimageselsewhere.