He then lights a candle and places it on the floor in the center of the room, and shook his sacred rattle, commanding . The grating sound of the rattle draws all attention and he recites a ritual sometimes to the audience and sometimes whispered in the ear of the deceased. Soon he straddles the corpse and orders the gros-bon-ange to come out. When the gros-bon-ange comes out the priestess cuts tufts of hair from the head of the deceased which are sealed in a clay jar and later placed next to his body and buried with him.
The spirit gros-bon-ange then roams among the family members and enters one of their bodies. This family member goes into a trance and tells everyone good bye one by one. The family member is then released from his trance and the gros-bon-ange then moves away to enter heaven (OGorman, 2008). They believe the body is then just an empty tomb that no longer holds any essence of the person who was there before.
The final ritual at the end of the sequence of events is the breaking of a large clay jar. The jar is beaten into pieces and then buried. The clay jar represents the body because they believe that they body is made of clay and water and it is beaten to represent the cruelty of taking someone away from their life with their community. Finally it is buried and every single fragment is assured to be in the same place for burial.
The Haitian people are encouraged not to have sorrow over the loss of this family member or friend as they believe this soul is soon born into the body of a new baby. Therefore there is reason to celebrate and not morn. However, it is of course difficult to do this and many times they will go to the celebration whaling at one minute and laughing and dancing at another.
Catholicism and vodum are a necessary part of Haitian existence. God and the Saints of the Church and loas the ancestral spirits of Africa on the other. For Haitians, the