Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Hoodoo and Voodoo

Hoodoo vs Voodoo

Hoodoo and voodoo may sound the same, but the terms are related opposites.

Both hoodoo and voodoo are widely practiced and both share similar elements and roots in Africa. Voodoo and hoodoo are also both products of mixed beliefs that include pagan traditions, ancient worship, and elements of European religions.
However, the main difference between hoodoo and voodoo is that the latter is actually an existing religion practiced by people while the former is considered folk magic.

In this contrast, voodoo as a religion is clearly an institution which has organization and has established practices like religious representatives or leaders, teachings, and religious services or rituals. Hoodoo, as a folk magic, lacks this foundation and organization.

Voodoo, as a religion, invokes the power of the loas in the African gods and deities. However, hoodoo practitioners invoke the loas by using Catholic saints. In this comparison, voodoo is practiced by non-Roman Catholics while the hoodoo’s practitioners are often Roman Catholics who use both the African concept of gods and the religious saints of Catholicism. Hoodoo practitioners are also followers of spiritualism. The specific term ascribed to a voodoo practitioner is a Vodouisant while hoodoo practitioners are often referred to and called root doctors or healers.

A hoodoo practitioner often sees hoodoo as a sort of personal power that can help oneself or people by their knowledge of herbs, minerals, animal parts, bodily fluids, or possessions. The magic can be used based on one’s inclinations, desires, interests, and habits. Hoodoo and its practitioners empower themselves by accessing the gods and other supernatural forces in order to bring improvement or decline in a person’ life. With this variety of knowledge and power, a practitioner can help a person in all aspects of life that may include luck, love, evil, and restraining enemies.

Voodoo is the “original religion” while hoodoo is the result of religious persecution and suppression. Hoodoo developed by adopting and blending some foreign beliefs and religion to hide its African origins which were considered pagan and unacceptable in the largely dominated Christian society.

Aside from being a religion, voodoo is also a culture and a way of life. Hoodoo often specializes only in magic powers and the benefits that the magic can bring. Hoodoo can also be practiced as a hobby, an economic income, or a charity act.

There is also a difference in the places of influence of both voodoo and hoodoo. Voodoo is popular and thrives in former French colonies like Mississippi and Louisiana while hoodoo is more poplar in the Southern part of America. Also, hoodoo was brought by African slaves into the New World while voodoo came via Haiti (Haiti was a former French colony). In this picture, voodoo, though more “pure” and more ancient, came indirectly compared to hoodoo.

Voodoo encompasses a lot of fields in society like culture, philosophy, art and music, heritage, language, medicine, justice, spirituality, and power. Hoodoo is just a fraction of all these. Hoodoo is also more focused on the power and spiritual side than anything else.


1.Voodoo is a religion while hoodoo is traditional folk magic.
2.As an established religion, voodoo has organization and a system that hoodoo lacks.
3.Followers of voodoo are not affiliated with other religions, but hoodoo is practiced by Roman Catholics.
4.Voodoo came indirectly by way of Haiti whereas hoodoo came directly from Africa.
5.Voodoo can be considered as the “main belief” while hoodoo can be considered as a denomination of voodoo.
6.A voodoo practitioner can be called such but can also be referred to as Vodouisants. Hoodoo practitioners, on the other hand, are called root doctors and healers.

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