Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
An oumfò (sometimes spelled houmfort) is the place where Vodu rituals usually take place in Haiti. It is regarded as a Vodu Temple or a spiritual center. An oumfò is made up of several parts. The first one, the peristyle , is located at the entrance of the oumfò. Its size may vary from oumfò to oumfò, but it is usually a rather large and semi-open space where Vodu ceremonies take place. The peristyle is typically decorated with mystic paintings on the walls and colorful banners hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling of the peristyle usually rests on four pillars, which represent the four cardinal points. The most important part of the peristyle, however, is the potomitan (which literally means “pillar in the middle”), a pillar located in the center, usually decorated with a spiraling snake, and connecting the ground to the ceiling. The Lwa (spirits) are believed to potomitan, ...