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What is a Haitian Vodou male priest - Oungan

Oungan is a male priest in Haitian Vodou religion who is also known as houngan or makandalas.


The Haitian Vodou male priest run the temple, serve the community and Bondye the creator god.


Role of the Oungan

Oungan are the link between the voodoo spirits and the community.

The oungan perform rituals when there is a death or birth in addition to healing rituals for the community. 


Oungan's initiate new priests (tesses), create potions, cast spells, interpret dreams & perform sorcery.


Oungan etymology

In the Gbe language the term Vodun is synonymous with the prefix hun.

The ending -gan originates from Dahomey meaning chief of spirits or chief priest. 

The suffic Gan or ga denotes big or importance. The full meaning of Oungan is an important priest.


Joining the voodou priesthood

Oungans are chosen by Vodou spirits through a dream, vision or rituals.

The oungan initiation starts with isolation (Kouche Kanzo) then their hair is washed 7 times during Lave Tet.

Initiation is completed with rituals, sacrifices, receiving a spiritual name and  a sacred rattle (ason).

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