Inside Voodoo: African Cult of Twins Marks Voodoo New Year

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Koffi Ameko's late paternal grandfather and grand-uncle were also twins. According to Ameko, twins never die, and he describes his long-gone elders as being "away collecting wood." Ameko showed a visiting reporter uniforms used to dress wooden dolls representing his elders during Voodoo New Year celebrations.

After his grandfather passed away, Ameko took possession of a doll carved by his father, a wooden image representing the living spirit of his grandfather. A similar doll representing his grand-uncle is always placed beside it.

Ameko also described a daily ritual that takes on a particularly poignant meaning each New Year. He described how the dolls are bathed, clothed, and fed each day. "My grandfather and his brother are here with my family. We speak with them every day. They know we are here, which brings them comfort. For our New Year, we dress the dolls in white cloth and green caps. The white means purity. The green is for eternal life."

Ameko believes voodoo gives him guidance on family structure and the ongoing dialogue between the living and one's ancestors. The celebration of the link between the living and the departed is a highlight of the West African Voodoo New Year festival.

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