Republic of Benin, West Africa has celebrated the 23rd Voodoo festival 2016. The festival means a lot to the people, a religion approved by the government with more than 60% of the population devoted to it.
Media reports indicate that since 1997, followers have gathered at Ouidah, a town in Benin to be blessed by the city's Voodoo chief who sacrifices a goat as an offering to the spirits on the day.
During the celebration, tourists watch devotees in animal skins chanting and dancing to drumbeats and share a glass or two of Gin with the locals.
The highlights are but of course the voodoo dolls found in tents adorned with flags that represent various sects. But there's a lot more than pierced dolls, the celebration witnesses horse race on the beach and the intriguing world of occult in full swing.
It would be recalled that in 1996 the government of Benin decreed that Voodoo was an official religion practiced by over 10 million residents in the country.
For most Beninese, Voodoo is an integral part of everyday life. Ouidah is the spiritual capital of Voodoo and was once a major slave trading post of the west African country.
On January 10 every year, the festival takes place on the beach. Thousand of believers gather in Ouidah, the historical centre of the religion to receive blessings from the Voodoo chief. The ceremony is one of Benin's most colourful and spectacular cultural events.