Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world. And while today many Americans celebrate the day by wearing green and flaunting shamrocks, Haitian vodouists are celebrating one of the most treasured spirits (lwa) in Vodou: Damballah.
In Haitian Vodou, the lwa exist as messengers between god and the human world. Each lwa is associated with different colors and distinct objects, representing their unique personalities. Many of them are likened to various Roman Catholic saints based on shared attributes. Damballah, the lwa of creation, exists in the form of a white serpent and is affiliated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who drove all the snakes out to sea.
At the beginning of time, Damballah created the earth and the sky. He used his serpent body to form the millions of stars in the heavens. His winding torso slid across the land, constructing high mountains and deep valleys. All of earth’s waterways were created when he shed his scaly skin. And when the first raindrops fell to earth a rainbow appeared. Her name was Ayida Wedo. Damballah fell in love with this beautiful rainbow and married her. Together, they are known as the serpent and the rainbow.
Damballah’s presence brings peace. His existence and companionship with Ayida Wedo represents the divine process of creation from birth to endless possibility.
Let today, St. Patrick’s Day, serve as a reminder that all things are possible. That change in Haiti is on the horizon. And that possibility is without limits.
With your ongoing support, we can bring peace and possibility to hundreds of Haitian families as we partner with Na Rive to transform the lives of Haitian children, one meal, one lesson, one step at a time.
Today, we ask you to share your good fortune with children and families in need by considering a monthly donation to What If Foundation.
With many thanks,
What If Foundation