Happy Three Kings Day, also known as Epiphany! The twelve days of Christmas are over and now begins the Carnival season, eventually leading up to the big Mardi Gras celebrations here in New Orleans and a few other places in the U.S. Many of us here are enjoying our first King Cake of the season.
As I was taught, the image of the Three Kings in Haitian Vodou represents the Kongo nation of Lwa. However, on Three Kings Day many who serve the Lwa on the Ginen side of things feast the three big kings of their house. These can vary depending on practice and the history of that house. They can be Damballa Wedo (the King of all the Lwa), Papa Loko (the Lwa who gives the sacred Asson rattle to the priesthood, the Houngans and Mambos), and the Ogou (the warrior who protects) who rules over the house, such as Ogou Badagris.
For those in the Secret Societies (of sorcerers,) like the Makaya and Bizango, you may see them feasting the three major Lwa of their society. Again, these may vary. You can see Kalfou, Simbi, and the Baron. Or you may see Kalfou, Gran Bwa, or the Baron. It depends. But rest assured that anytime there is a major Catholic event happening, there is always an underlying sorcerous event happening somewhere in secret, but also right in front of your eyes. Sorcerers are sneaky that way, hiding things behind a thin veneer or completely invisible to those who don't know what to look for.
Whatever may be happening, today is a day of celebration, somewhat of an end to the New Year's celebrations to help us get through the dark, cooler months and usher in Spring when we get to March. If you haven't booked your Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans by now, you might be hard pressed to find a place to stay.
Laissez le bon temps rouler! (But don't forget your protections.)