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Voodoo, also commonly known as Vodou, is an ancient West African religion stemming from spiritual beliefs practiced by slaves brought to the Caribbean, particularly in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Voodoo was then brought to the United States, particularly in the south of Florida, with the influx of Afro-Caribbean people settling here and bringing with them traditional spiritual beliefs. Here in Miami, voodoo is referred to as Miami Vodou, as the spiritual beliefs have retained a flavor unique to this region of Florida.

The backbone of Miami Vodou is the practice of ceremonies and offerings. Ceremonies and offerings play a key role in Miami Vodou, and are used to create an atmosphere of spiritual engagement and power to petition the spirits, or lwa, for assistance in many aspects of life, such as health, fertility, guidance, prosperity, and protection. Miami Vodou ceremonies and offerings are used to celebrate life, provide protection against negative energy, create balance, and bring into being new, positive changes in people’s lives.

Types of Ceremonies and Offerings

Ceremonies and offerings in Miami Vodou are not just limited to spiritual matters, but they are an integral part of the culture. They are used to show respect towards the lwa, to connect with the energy in the ritual location, and to gain the lwa’s assistance and protection. Miami Vodou offers many types of ceremonies and offerings, such as:

niti: A niti is a type of ceremony or offering in which a specific ritual is performed in conjunction with an offering to the lwa. The niti can be anything from a traditional ceremony to communicating one’s wishes to the lwa.

Philipon: A Philipon, also known as a “feeding”, is an offering given to the lwa in gratitude for their protection, assistance, or help. Commonly, the offering consists of a special vessel, such as a plate or bowl, that contains food, flowers, and/or incense.

Mawoun: Mawoun is an invocation, or a ritual invocation that is done in order to seek assistance from the lwa. This type of ceremony often includes drumming and chanting.

Yovoun: Yovoun is a ceremony that is done in order to pay homage and repay a debt to one of the lwa. This type of offering usually consists of money, food, and a special ritual.

These are only a few examples of the rituals and offerings that are performed in Miami Vodou. Each of these offerings have a special significance and purpose, and create a powerful presence in the ritual area.

The Significance of Offerings

In Miami Vodou, offerings are of extreme importance. Offerings are seen as a means to connect with the powerful divine energy of the lwa. Offerings provide a means of connecting with the spirits and establishing a relationship with them, allowing for peace and balance to be brought into the lives of those who partake in the ceremony. Offerings also demonstrate a reverence and respect for the lwa, and create an opportunity for people to receive tangible assistance from the lwa.


Ceremonies and offerings in Miami Vodou are not only a means to connect with the powerful divine energy of the lwa, but also a way to celebrate and honor life. Offerings provide a tangible experience of the lwa through which they can provide assistance, protection, and guidance. Miami Vodou ceremonies and offerings are a powerful way to show reverence and respect towards the lwa, create balance, and bring new, positive changes in people’s lives.

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