informant: ” babies get sick often right .. cause obviously their immune system isn’t developed fully.. but for people of ancient times and for less educated people.. they don’t know that.. they don’t know how the immune systems developed and what not. So when a baby gets sick its obviously not a medical reason.. so they have like a sort of voodoo doll a paper voodoo doll. and instead of ..in this culture instead of the voodoo doll being something that you use to inflict harm on someone the voodoo doll is used to ward off evil .. so what they get is they get the paper voodoo doll and the doll is supposed to be the baby and you get a needle and you poke the eyes of the voodoo doll over and over and you say something to the effect of from this eye to the other eye i brake this jinx or i brake this curse and you keep doing it for a while i don’t know how long i missed that part.. cause anyone could have jinxed it right.. and so your just kinda like from this eye of this person i’m breaking the jinx on my baby .. i don’t know it gets kinda dark.. but you get the doll and you burn it so that spirit is burnt while you do that . and then while it’s burning you take the baby and you pass it over the burning voodoo doll back and forth and then once the burning turns into black ashes. you take the ashes .. you take the ashes and put a black cross on the forehead.. both palms and both feet. and you let the baby sleep it off and the baby is supposed to be good in the morning but obviously you didn’t do anything to make it heel. that one is really interesting its really dark my mom told me to pray afterwards .. God let not these stories actually curse us..
Collector: what do you guys call the voodoo dolls
informant: i don’t know
Collector: do they practice voodoo in Egypt?
Informant: No not really anymore
Collector: did they used to?
Informant: Like way back in the day
Informant: You fully appreciate how much literacy plays a part in your life like people back then couldn’t read even the bible so they didn’t know it was contradicting their beliefs
what percentage of Egypt is christian
like 20 i think.
This story comes from sam’s family, his mother specifically. He was born in Cairo and his family is from Cairo but his parents parents are from the south of Egypt which is the “hicks ” of Egypt. he claims that the south is where more traditional folklore and superstitions come from. His family are Coptic Christians. Sam believes that these superstitions are neither christian nor Muslim but actually developed in ancient Egypt. He moved at a young age to Bakersfield and now attends the University of Southern California.
I found this story interesting because of many reasons, one thing to point out is that this voodoo in Egypt is somewhat like Santeria because it shows traces of syncretism with christianity. Although the ritual involves a doll and fire and non christian practices, the ash is then used to draw a cross over the forehead which is a christian practice during ash Wednesday. Santeria is usually associated with a Spanish conquered culture but in Egypt i don not know what we would call it, because the syncretism is with Coptic Christianity, and the routes of Voudon are much more direct since Egypt resides in Africa. I also found it interesting that voodoo dolls are meant to cure not harm, maybe my informant was lacking information, or maybe it reveals what it’s syncretism with christianity has meant for the rituals particularly making them more pacifist in magical nature rather that dark in magical nature because it would be considered a sin.