St. John’s Eve

St. John’s Eve is a celebration of the summer solstice. In the 1830’s Marie Laveau did a headwashing ceremony in Lake Pontchartrain. Today, a group led by Sallie Ann Glassman, do the ceremony along the bayou in Midcity, either on the Magnolia Bridge or recently on the bank nearby. While New Orleans voodoo originated in Africa and Haiti, the group that does this ceremony is largely white. Sallie Ann is one of the few White Americans ordained as a voodoo priestess in Haiti.

An alter is built for Laveau. The ceremony with drumming, singing and dancing, starts an hour or so before sunset. Once dark, the headwashing begins.Those participating wear all white and leave their offering on the alter. It is said that Marie particularly likes flowers and hair ribbons and items since she was a hairdresser. Sallie Ann continues the individual headwashing and once done people wrap their head in a wrap and leave the ceremony quite refreshed.

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