A veve (also spelled vèvè or vevè) is a religious symbol commonly used in different branches of Vodun throughout the African diaspora, such as Haitian Vodou. Veves should not be confused with the patipembas used in Palo, nor the pontos riscados used in Umbanda and Quimbanda since these are separate African religions. The veve acts as a "beacon" for the Loa, and will serve as a loa's representation during rituals.
It is commonly believed to have possibly originated from the cosmogram of the Kongo people, or originated as the Nsibidi system of writing for the Igboid and Ekoid languages from West and Central Africa.
According to Milo Rigaud "The veves represent figures of the astral forces... In the course of Vodou ceremonies, the reproduction of the astral forces represented by the veves obliges the loas... to descend to earth."
Every loa has his or her own unique veve, although regional differences have led to different veves for the same loa in some cases. Sacrifices and offerings are usually placed upon them, with food and drink being most commonly used.
In ritual and other formalities, veve is usually drawn on the floor by strewing a powder-like substance, commonly cornmeal, wheat flour, bark, red brick powder, or gunpowder, though the material depends entirely upon the ritual. In Haitian Vodou, a mixture of cornmeal and wood ash is used.
Veve can be made into screenprint, painting, patchwork etc., as wall hangings, artworks, and banners.
- University of Southwestern Louisiana (1987). Baking in the Sun: Visionary Images from the South. University of Southwestern Louisiana. p. 30.
- Asante, Molefi K. (2007). The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony. Routledge. p. 252. ISBN 0-415-77139-0.
- Milo Rigaud, Secrets of Voodoo, City Lights, NY, 1969
- Britannica - Vèvè VODOU SYMBOL
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