|Region||Dominican Republic and Dominican diaspora|
Dominican Vudú is composed of three divisions: the Indigenous American Division, whose spirits are of American origin (usually refers to Taíno spirits); the African Division, whose spirits are of African origin (usually Fon and Ewe spirits); and the European Division, whose spirits are of European origin (usually Spaniard and French spirits). The Indigenous American Division is one of the main features that distinguishes Dominican Vudú from other forms of Vodou.
Some major deities venerated in Dominican Vudú include:
- Anaisa Pye, the loa of love and happiness. She is syncretized with Saint Anne.
- Belie Belcan, the loa of justice and protection against demons. He is syncretized with Saint Michael the Archangel.
- Filomena, the loa responsible for dominion over men. She is syncretized with Saint Martha.
- Ogun Balenjod, the loa of warriors and soldiers. He is syncretized with San Santiago.
- Baron, the loa of death. He is syncretized with San Elías.
- Metresili, the loa of love, beauty and wealth. She is syncretized with the Mater Dolorosa.
Dominican Vudú uses a different percussion, a lot of times it is played with Atabales or "Tambore de Palo", which are of Kongo origin; along with it a Guira (Scraper) is usually used. The drums are known as Palos and the drummers as Paleros, and when a ceremony in which they are at is usually referred to as a Fiesta de Palo. Dominican Vudú is practiced through a Tcha Tcha (“maraca” – which means rattle) lineage. In Haiti, Vodou has come about and become more popular through another lineage known as the Asson. However, before the Asson, the Tcha Tcha lineage was the prominent lineage in Haiti. Thus the Tcha Tcha lineage is one of the oldest lineages within the Vodou tradition.
Dominican Vudú practitioners are often called “Caballos”, but they are also known as Papa Bokos and Papa Loa (masculine); and Mama Mambos and Mama Loa (feminine). One who has obtained this title has gone through the last and highest level of initiation that can take anywhere between 3 and 9 days and nights as well as have spent a time working for the community.
Differences with Haitian Vodou
Dominican Vudú is less strict than the Haitian Vodou tradition. There is less regleman (fixed doctrine or rule within the Haitian Vodou Tradition). There is no fixed doctrine, defined temples, or ceremonies. It doesn’t have as rigid a structure. This can be seen in the many different ways in which Caballos de Misterios conduct ceremonies and how the spirits mount a person.