World

Haitians flow into cemeteries to mark Voodoo festival of the dead

  • A woman in the role of a spirit known as a "Gede" dances during a Voodoo ritual in tribute to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits during Day of the Dead celebrations at the National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Day of the Dead traditions coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

    A woman in the role of a spirit known as a "Gede" dances during a Voodoo ritual in tribute to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits during Day of the Dead celebrations at the National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Day of the Dead traditions coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man in pours rum over the cross representing Baron Samdi, believed to have healing powers, during a Voodoo ritual in tribute to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits during Day of the Dead celebrations at the cemetery in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Day of the Dead traditions coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

    A man in pours rum over the cross representing Baron Samdi, believed to have healing powers, during a Voodoo ritual in tribute to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits during Day of the Dead celebrations at the cemetery in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Day of the Dead traditions coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Two women participate in a Voodoo ritual in tribute to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits during Day of the Dead celebrations at the National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Day of the Dead traditions coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

    Two women participate in a Voodoo ritual in tribute to Baron Samdi and the Gede family of spirits during Day of the Dead celebrations at the National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Day of the Dead traditions coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)  (The Associated Press)

People have been streaming into cemeteries across Haiti bearing candles, food offerings and bottles of dark rum to mark the country's Voodoo festival of the dead.

At Port-au-Prince's national cemetery, priests and priestesses dressed in white gather around a blackened monument that is believed to be the oldest grave. There, they evoke spirit Baron Samedi, guardian of the dead.

Other Haitians on Sunday remembered dead relatives and asked spirits to grant favors or provide guidance.

Voodoo is a blend of African spirituality and Christian tenets that slaves created centuries ago.

This year's celebration comes shortly before authorities are expected to announce the top two finishers in a presidential first-round vote.

Voodoo priest Pierre Saint Ange cracked a rope whip and told onlookers not to "fight with guns or burn tires."