3rd Place; Egungun Voodoo Society, Benin by Jean-Claude Moschetti
The Egungun association is a secret voodoo society that honours the spirits of their ancestors and perpetuates their memories. These ancestral spirits are believed to be in constant watch over their living relatives; they bless, protect and warn them, but can also punish them depending on whether they remember or neglect them.
The spirits can also protect a community against evil spirits, epidemics, witchcraft and evil doers, ensuring their well-being, and may even be invited to come to earth physically. When they do, the Egungun are the receptacles of these spirits, appearing in the streets day or night, leaping, dancing or walking, and uttering loud cries. The spirit is supposed to have returned from the land of the dead to ascertain what is going on, so can be considered a kind of supernatural inquisitor who appears from time to time to inquire into the general domestic conduct of people and punish misdeeds.