Royal Procession at the Palaces of Abomey

Photo by Lynsey McGarry

Photo by Lynsey McGarry

The city of Abomey was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey, which later became Benin, and a regional force in West Africa. 12 kings ruled Dahomey between 1625 and 1900. The royal palaces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, house a great collection of art and artifacts about the kingdom of Dahomey, life before colonization, the kingdom’s resistance to French colonization and the preservation of the traditional culture. The day we visited the palace, a royal procession and ceremony were taking place. In the Dahomey tradition, the king is carried in a hammock, shielded from the sun by umbrellas embroidered with the royal symbols. The current king came last in the procession after the hammocks of the former kings were carried out of the palaces. Booming cannons and drumming accompanied the procession; we were able to track the king’s progress through the community during our tour of the palace by the intensity of the cannons.

Photo by Lynsey McGarry

Photo by Lynsey McGarry

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