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12400: Re: 12381, Don Pedro, from Mambo Racine (fwd)

From: Racine125@aol.com

Lois E Wilcken <makandal-ny@juno.com> wrote:

<<This thought just came up in my reading.  Moreau de Saint-Mery attributed the "danse a Don Pedre" to a "negro of Spanish origin."  Is it solidly established that Don Pedre was a historical figure?  If so, what, exactly, does "of Spanish origin" mean?  Has anyone ever speculated that he was Congolese, with a Portuguese name?  One of the Kongo kings during the 18th century was Don Pedro IV.  Many Congolese leaders took Portugese names during Portugal's 500 year tenure there.  Just wondering.


Oh, what a fabulous speculation, Lois, I am so glad you told us that!

Like you, I have read that Don Pedro was a "Spanish Negro", which I take to mean an African who was enslaved in a Spanish-speaking part of the Caribbean for long enough to learn Spanish.  Maybe he was on the east end of Hispaniola - or anywhere in  Hispaniola, I don't know that Vodou gives a time for the appearance of Don Pedro, it's just sort of like he's always been there.  How much of Hispaniola did Spain control at the time of the Kongo king Don Pedro IV?  And what about Dons Pedro I, II and III?  Who were they?

Now, a link to Kongo makes sense to me, it looks worth investigating.  As Vodou clergy, Houngans and Mambos, we don't really have a lot of information about how the Petro group got started, or how it was named, or when, or why.  So it's either have a look at king Don Pedro IV and his subjects, or wade through sound-alike words, people speculating that Don is really "Dan" like in "Danbala", Dan-nan-Petro (and this is even plausible because both the lwa Don Pedro and his son Ti-Jean Petro have snake attributes); it could be some First Nation Taino or Arawak word we don't even know, that sounded a little like "Don Pedro", and so on.

The whole "Petro" portion of the orthodox Vodou liturgy goes like this:


So, the Petro part of the liturgy includes Don Pedro and Ti-Jean Petro.  You will also notice a "Simbi" group, and it is thought by some that this word is derived from the Kongo "Nzambi".  So that would make two Kongo groups under other names - and then there are the Kongo lwa, La Reine Kongo, Kongo Savanne, and so on, also in the Petro group.  I am not sure what it means that there would be lwa called Don Pedro and Ti-Jean Petro, father and son, or why there would then be a separate group specifically named Kongo this-and-that?

But as I say, the information you have provided does offer one plausible line of investigation, based on something more tangible than sound-alike words.

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

"Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
     Haitian proverb

The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html

(Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)