Mami’s Sisters in the African Atlantic
Africans taken to Haiti aboard slave ships brought with them strong traditions of fish-tailed and water-related spirits, which were incorporated into Vodou, a complex and sophisticated religion honoring spiritual entities known as lwa. Water enters the Haitian Vodou cosmology in many ways. Marine spirits like the mermaid Lasirèn symbolize the lwa of the water.
Meanwhile, every February 2nd along the northeast coast of Brazil, descendants of enslaved Africans, as well as many others, turn their eyes and thoughts toward the watery horizon and pray to the “Queen of the Sea,” “Mother Water,” the “Mother of Fish,” Yemanja, seeking her love, support, protection, and guidance.