Voodoo (or Vodun) is often thought of in Western culture as coming from the Caribbean - like in Haiti, Dominica, Cuba, and Lousiana (there are also voodoo tours in Lousiana) But it is actually part of a Diaspora of West African religions. When the West African slaves were brought to the New World, they brought their traditions and beliefs with them as well. In origin, Voodoo traces back to West Africa with the Aja, Ewe, and Fon peoples of what is today Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Ghana.
It was slaves from this region of Africa who brought the Yoruba gods to the Caribbean and South America. In the Caribbean the African gods mixed with the Christian saints and the symbols common to the Catholic Church. Over time various symbols changed meaning. Travel to West Africa and one will find Vodun religious beliefs that are similar (but not the same) as those found in the Caribbean. One of the spookiest places is the Akodessawa Fetish Market in Lomé - the capital of Togo.
Akodessawa Fetish Market - The Largest Voodoo Market in The World
As the largest fetish market in the world, Akodessewa Fetish Market in Lomé, Togo is a haven for voodoo practitioners.
While there are various things to do in the narrowly shaped West African country of Togo, one of the creepiest is the Akodessawa Fetish Market. The Akodessawa Fetish Market is known as the world's largest voodoo market. In the market, one can find monkey heads, skulls, birds, crocodiles, skins, and other products of deceased animals.
If one would live a tour of the market, it is best to ask around while there. It will not be hard to find a willing guide.
- French Name: Marche des Feticheurs
One will also find things like crocodile heads, chimpanzee hands, cobras, and bones. Lots of bones. They are sold as ingredients and are ground up, mixed with herbs, and cooked. The black powder is then rubbed into a cut on the person's chest with the hope of curing him of whatever his ailment was.
In short, the Akodessawa Fetish Market is a kind of giant voodoo pharmacy. It is where one goes when one can't afford traditional treatment or traditional treatment has failed one. These talismans and charms are meant to cure everything from the flu or infertility to removing the blackest of curses.
It is sometimes said that voodoo (or vodun) is the most understood religion. Check on the link below to see a voodoo fetish market salesman explain it.
- Opening Hours: Approx. 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
It's Not What You Think!
It should be noted that in this context the word "fetish" has nothing to do with odd intimate desires. Instead, the word comes from French and Portuguese and before that Latin. The Latin word "facticius" meant "artificial" and "facere" meant "to make". It came to mean an object that was believed to have supernatural powers. It refers to an inanimate object that was worshipped for its supposed magical powers or because it was thought to be inhabited by a spirit.
Fetish: An Inanimate Object Worshipped For Magical Powers Or Because It's Inhabited by a Spirit A fetish can be a God and also a human, plant, animal, or material.
What To Know About Visiting Togo - The Origin of Voodoo
Togo is a long and thin country in West Africa that borders Ghana to the west, Benin to the east, and Burkina Faso to the north. The capital and largest city is Lomé and the country has a population of around 8 million.
- Capital: Lomé
- Size: 57,000 square kilometers (22,008 square miles)
Before WW1 Togo was a German protectorate called Togoland and after the war, possession passed to France. Togo gained independence in 1960 and French is the official language of the country today. Togo is a tropical and sub-Saharan African country and has a mix of indigenous beliefs, Christianity, and Islam.
If one would like to go to Togo, then their policy for almost all countries (including the United States) outside of Africa is visa on arrival for 7 days. Visitors need to have an onward ticket, but once in the country, one can get the visa extended for another 90 days.
- Official Language: French
- Visa Policy: Visa On Arrival For 7 Days (Extendable for Another 90 Days)
If one is planning to visit West Africa, one of the best and most stable countries to visit is Senegal.