Haitians trek to waterfall to venerate saint

The Associated PressJuly 16, 2014 

— Followers of Haiti's most celebrated patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, gathered at the Saut d'Eau waterfall Tuesday to pay her tribute and make requests.

Worshippers performed Voodoo cleansing rituals in the water, stripping off their clothes and using leaves to wash away bad luck and their sins.

They also petitioned the saint to improve their lives.

Lionel Saint-Jean said that after losing his house in Haiti's catastrophic 2010 quake, he asked the saint for a new one and he got one.

"So I came this year to thank her for that," Jean said.

Thousands come to Saut d'Eau every year to honor the virgin, who is said to have appeared on a palm tree in 1847.

Voodoo, or Vodou as many practitioners prefer, evolved from West African beliefs and adopted elements of Roman Catholicism.

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