Santería

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"Santeria" redirects here. Santería_sentence_0

For other uses, see Santeria (disambiguation). Santería_sentence_1

Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla Lucumí, or Lucumí, is an African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba between the 16th and 19th centuries. Santería_sentence_2

It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional Yoruba religion of West Africa and the Roman Catholic form of Christianity. Santería_sentence_3

There is no central authority in control of the movement, which comprises adherents known as creyente and initiates known as santeros (males) and santeras (females). Santería_sentence_4

Santería is polytheistic, involving the veneration of deities known as oricha. Santería_sentence_5

These are often identified both as Yoruba gods as well as Roman Catholic saints. Santería_sentence_6

Various myths are told about these oricha, which are regarded as subservient to a transcendent creator deity, Olodumare. Santería_sentence_7

Each individual is believed to have a specific oricha who has been connected to them since before birth and who informs their personality. Santería_sentence_8

Santería's members usually meet in the homes of santeros or santeras to venerate specific oricha at altars set up for that purpose. Santería_sentence_9

A central ritual is the toque de santo, in which practitioners drum, sing, and dance to encourage an oricha to possess one of their members. Santería_sentence_10

They believe that through this possessed individual, they can communicate directly with an oricha. Santería_sentence_11

Offerings to the oricha include fruit and the blood of sacrificed animals, usually birds. Santería_sentence_12

Offerings are also given to the spirits of the dead, especially those of ancestors, with some practitioners identifying as spirit mediums. Santería_sentence_13

Several forms of divination are utilized, including Ifá, to decipher messages from the oricha. Santería_sentence_14

Healing rituals and the preparation of herbal remedies, amulets, and charms, also play a prominent role. Santería_sentence_15

Santería uses the Lucumí language, which is derived from Yoruba, for ritual purposes. Santería_sentence_16

Santería developed among Afro-Cuban communities amid the Atlantic slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries. Santería_sentence_17

It formed through the blending of the traditional religions brought to Cuba by enslaved West Africans, the majority of them Yoruba, and Roman Catholicism, the only religion legally permitted on the island by the Spanish colonial government. Santería_sentence_18

After the Cuban War of Independence resulted in a newly independent Cuban state, the constitution enshrined freedom of religion. Santería_sentence_19

Santería nevertheless remained marginalized by the Roman Catholic establishment, which typically viewed it as a type of brujería (witchcraft) associated with criminality. Santería_sentence_20

Concepts from Spiritism increasingly filtered into Santería from the late 19th century onward. Santería_sentence_21

In the 1960s, growing emigration following the Cuban Revolution spread Santería elsewhere. Santería_sentence_22

The late 20th century saw growing links between Santería and related traditions in West Africa and the Americas, such as Haitian Vodou and Brazilian Candomblé. Santería_sentence_23

Since the late 20th century, some practitioners have emphasized a "Yorubization" process to remove Roman Catholic influences and create forms of Santería closer to traditional Yoruba religion. Santería_sentence_24

Practitioners of Santería are primarily found in Cuba, although communities exist abroad, especially among the Cuban diasporas of Mexico and the United States. Santería_sentence_25

Both in Cuba and abroad it has spread beyond its Afro-Cuban origins and is practiced by individuals of various ethnicities. Santería_sentence_26

Santería has faced much opposition and criticism through its history. Santería_sentence_27

The Roman Catholic Church has often seen it as Satanic, Cuba's Marxist–Leninist government perceived it as primitive superstition, while animal welfare groups have criticised its use of animal sacrifice. Santería_sentence_28

Definitions Santería_section_0

The term "Santería" translates into English as the "way of the saints." Santería_sentence_29

This is the most popular name for the religion, although some practitioners consider it offensive and avoid it in favor of alternatives. Santería_sentence_30

Another commonly used term is Regla de Ocha, meaning "the rule of ocha"; the term "ocha" is a truncated form of oricha, the word used for the religion's deities. Santería_sentence_31

Some adherents regard this as the "official" name of the religion. Santería_sentence_32

In the United States, the tradition has also been referred to as "La Religión Lucumí", a term originally employed in colonial-era Cuba, and in other instances has been called "Regla Lucumi", or simply "Lucumí". Santería_sentence_33

There is no central authority in control of Santería. Santería_sentence_34

A flexible and eclectic tradition, Santería lacks any strict orthodoxy, and there is considerable variation in how it is practiced. Santería_sentence_35

Many of its practitioners also consider themselves to be Roman Catholics, and some adherents have practiced it alongside Hinduism, Spiritism, or have characterised themselves as Jewish. Santería_sentence_36

Santería is an Afro-Cuban religion, and Cuba's government formally classifies it as one of the "Cuban religions of African origin". Santería_sentence_37

In Cuba it is sometimes described as "the national religion". Santería_sentence_38

Many regard it as a uniquely Cuban tradition, although it has spread to other parts of the Americas like Venezuela, Mexico, and the United States. Santería_sentence_39

Santería's roots are in the West African religious systems brought to Cuba by enslaved people, the majority of them Yoruba. Santería_sentence_40

There, these beliefs mixed with the Roman Catholicism introduced by Spanish colonialists. Santería_sentence_41

Through a process of syncretism, Roman Catholic saints were conflated with West African deities; the Hispanic studies scholars Margarite Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert defined Santería as "the veneration of the orishas of the Yoruba pantheon as identified with their corresponding Catholic saints". Santería_sentence_42

Since the late 19th century, it has also drawn elements from Spiritism. Santería_sentence_43

Although Santería is the best known of the Afro-Cuban religions, as well as being the most popular, it is not the only one. Santería_sentence_44

Others include Palo Monte, which derived from practices from the Congo Basin, and Abakuá, which has its origins among the secret male societies practiced among the Efik-Ibibio. Santería_sentence_45

Many of those who practice Palo Monte and Abakuá also practice Santería. Santería_sentence_46

A fourth Afro-Cuban religion is Arará, which derives from practices among the Ewe and Fon; Arará is sometimes considered a branch of Santería rather than a separate system altogether, although unlike most forms of Santería its origins are not primarily Yoruba. Santería_sentence_47

Santería has commonalities with other West African and West African-derived traditions in the Americas which collectively form the "Orisha religion"; the anthropologist Paul Christopher Johnson characterized Santería, Haitian Vodou, and Brazilian Candomblé as "sister religions" due to their shared origins in Yoruba traditional belief systems. Santería_sentence_48

These common origins can be seen in the fact that Santería shares much of its theology, including deity names, with Haitian Vodou. Santería_sentence_49

Haitian migrants have established a form of Vodou in Cuba, and there are also cases, such as that of the New York-based Mama Lola, in which individuals have been initiated into both Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santería. Santería_sentence_50

Within the religion there is a range of vocabulary to indicate the level of involvement someone has, with the different terms sometimes reflecting different political and social agendas. Santería_sentence_51

Practitioners of both Santería and other Afro-Cuban religions are called creyente ("believers"). Santería_sentence_52

A non-initiate, including those who may attend public Santería ceremonies, is referred to as an aleyo ("stranger"); these non-initiates make up the majority of people who participate in the religion. Santería_sentence_53

Some people external to the religion have referred to its practitioners as "santerians" although this is not used by adherents themselves. Santería_sentence_54

Those who are initiated are known as santeros if male, and santeras if female, although these two terms have sometimes been used for anyone, initiate or not, who participates in the religion. Santería_sentence_55

An alternative term for an initiate is a babalocha or babaloricha ("father-deity") if male and an iyalocha or iyaloricha ("mother-deity") if female. Santería_sentence_56

Those who have a sustained engagement with the religion are also referred to as omoricha ("children of the oricha"), or aboricha ("one who worships the oricha"). Santería_sentence_57

An initiate may also be called an oloricha ("one who belongs to the oricha"). Santería_sentence_58

Beliefs Santería_section_1

Olodumare and the oricha Santería_section_2

Santería teaches the existence of an overarching divinity, known as Olodumare, Olofl, or Olorun, representing a monotheistic principle in the religion. Santería_sentence_59

Practitioners believe that this creator divinity created the universe but takes little interest in human affairs. Santería_sentence_60

Olodumare is thus regarded as being inaccessible to humanity. Santería_sentence_61

The three facets of this divinity are understood slightly differently; Olodumare represents the divine essence of all that exists, Olorun is regarded as the creator of all beings, while Olofi dwells in all creation. Santería_sentence_62

In taking a triplicate form, this creator deity displays similarities with the Christian idea of the Trinity. Santería_sentence_63

Santeria is a polytheistic religion. Santería_sentence_64

Its deities are referred to as oricha or orisha, or alternatively as the ocha, and also as the santos ("saints"). Santería_sentence_65

The oricha are not gods "in the Western sense", and thus the educational anthropologist Andrés I. Pérez y Mena thought they were best described as "Yoruban ancestor spirits". Santería_sentence_66

The term oricha can be both singular and plural, because Lucumí, the ritual language of Santería, lacks plural markers for nouns. Santería_sentence_67

Practitioners believe that some oricha were created before humanity, but that others were originally humans who became oricha through some remarkable quality. Santería_sentence_68

Some practitioners perceive the oricha as facets of Olodumare, and thus think that by venerating them they are ultimately worshipping the creator god. Santería_sentence_69

The oricha are not regarded as being wholly benevolent, being capable of both harming and helping humans, and having a mix of emotions, virtues, and vices like humans. Santería_sentence_70

The focus of the religion is on creating a reciprocal relationship with them, with adherents believing that oricha can intercede in human affairs and help people if they are appeased. Santería_sentence_71

There are various origin myths and other stories about the oricha, known as patakíes. Santería_sentence_72

Each oricha is understood to "rule over" a particular aspect of the universe, and have been described as personifications of different facets of the natural world. Santería_sentence_73

They are perceived as living in a realm called orún, which is contrasted with ayé, the realm of humanity. Santería_sentence_74

Oricha are identified as each having their own caminos ("roads"), or different manifestations. Santería_sentence_75

This is a concept that several scholars of religion have equated with that of the Hindu concept of avatars. Santería_sentence_76

The number of caminos an oricha has can vary, with some regarded as having several hundred. Santería_sentence_77

Practitioners believe that oricha can physically inhabit certain objects, among them stones and cowrie shells, which are treated as being sacred. Santería_sentence_78

Among the oricha are the four "warrior deities", or guerrors: Eleguá, Ogun, Ochosi, and Osun. Santería_sentence_79

The first of these, Eleguá, is viewed as the guardian of the crossroads and thresholds; he is the messenger between humanity and the oricha and most ceremonies start by requesting his permission to continue. Santería_sentence_80

He is depicted as being black on one side and red on the other, and although often shown as male is sometimes depicted as being female. Santería_sentence_81

Eleguá is believed to be responsible for reporting on humanity to Olodumare. Santería_sentence_82

Practitioners will frequently place a cement head decorated with cowrie shells that represents Eleguá behind their front door, guarding the threshold to the street. Santería_sentence_83

The second guerro is Ogun, viewed as the oricha of weapons and war, and also of iron and blacksmiths. Santería_sentence_84

The third, Ochosi, is associated with woods and hunting, while the fourth, Osun, is a protector who warns practitioners when they are in danger. Santería_sentence_85

Another prominent oricha is Yemaja, the deity associated with maternity, fertility, and the sea. Santería_sentence_86

Another female divinity, Ochún, is the oricha of rivers and of romantic love. Santería_sentence_87

Oyá is a female warrior associated with wind, lightning, and death, and is viewed as the guardian of the cemetery. Santería_sentence_88

Changó or Shango is associated with lightning and fire; he is perhaps the most popular oricha within the pantheon. Santería_sentence_89

Obatalá is the oricha of truth and justice and is deemed responsible for helping to mould humanity. Santería_sentence_90

Babalú Ayé is the oricha associated with disease, and is regarded as having the power to both infect and cure. Santería_sentence_91

Orula is the oricha of divination, who in Santería's mythology was present at the creation of humanity and thus is aware of everyone's destiny. Santería_sentence_92

Some of the oricha are regarded as being antagonistic to one another; Chango and Ogun are for instance described as enemies. Santería_sentence_93

The oricha are often conflated with particular Roman Catholic saints based on similar attributes between the two. Santería_sentence_94

For instance, the Holy Infant of Atocha, a depiction of Christ as a child, is conflated with Eleguá, who is seen as having a childlike nature. Santería_sentence_95

Similarly, Babalú Ayé, who is associated with disease, is often identified with the Catholic Saint Lazarus, who rose from the dead. Santería_sentence_96

Changó is typically conflated with Santa Barbara because they both wear red. Santería_sentence_97

Ochún is usually equated with Cuba's patron saint, Our Lady of Charity. Santería_sentence_98

In many cases, an oricha can be associated with multiple Roman Catholic saints. Santería_sentence_99

It has been argued that Yoruba slaves initially linked their traditional deities with Catholic saints as a means of concealing their continued worship of the former from the Roman Catholic authorities, or of helping to facilitate social mobility by assimilating into Roman Catholic social norms. Santería_sentence_100

Pérez y Mena thus argued that the saints should be seen only as a "shell" for the oricha. Santería_sentence_101

As evidence, he highlighted that some practitioners maintain that the oricha and the saints are distinct. Santería_sentence_102

Each oricha is associated with specific songs, rhythms, colors, numbers, animals, and foodstuffs. Santería_sentence_103

Ogun for instance is associated with various metal, and especially iron, objects, whereas Changó is associated with wooden objects. Santería_sentence_104

Practitioners argue that each person is "born to" a particular oricha, whether or not they decide to devote themselves to that deity. Santería_sentence_105

This is a connection that, adherents believe, has been set before birth. Santería_sentence_106

Practitioners refer to this oricha as one which "rules the head" of an individual; this entity is described as their "head" oricha, and the "owner of the head." Santería_sentence_107

If the oricha is male then it is described as the individual's "father", while if the oricha is female then it is understood as the person's "mother". Santería_sentence_108

This oricha is deemed to influence the personality of the individual, and thus by examining a person's personality traits their associated oricha could be recognised. Santería_sentence_109

Practitioners also believe that an individual's particular oricha can also be discerned through divination. Santería_sentence_110

To ensure the protection of a particular oricha, practitioners are encouraged to make offerings to them, sponsor ceremonies in their honor, and live in accordance with their wishes, as determined through divination. Santería_sentence_111

Practitioners are concerned at the prospect of offending the oricha. Santería_sentence_112

Practitioners of Santería believe that the oricha can communicate with humans through divination, prayers, dreams, music, and dance. Santería_sentence_113

Many practitioners also describe how they "read" messages from the oricha in everyday interactions and events. Santería_sentence_114

For instance, a practitioner who meets a child at a traffic intersection may interpret this as a message from Eleguá, who is often depicted as a child and who is perceived as the "guardian" of the crossroads. Santería_sentence_115

At that point the practitioner may turn to divination to determine the precise meaning of the encounter. Santería_sentence_116

The information obtained from these messages may then help practitioners make decisions about their job, residence, or behavior. Santería_sentence_117

Birth and the dead Santería_section_3

Santería teaches that the essence of a person, their eledá, resides within the head. Santería_sentence_118

It holds that before birth, the orí or eledá goes to Olodumare, the creator divinity, and is given its essential character. Santería_sentence_119

It is also before Olodumare, this belief holds, that the individual forms their relationship with a specific oricha. Santería_sentence_120

This oricha will thenceforth be "the owner of the head" and will influence the individual's character after they are born. Santería_sentence_121

This symbolic emphasis on the head led the anthropologist Michael Atwood Mason to describe it as "the bodily center of the spiritual life in Santería", with various rituals giving particular attention to this part of the human anatomy. Santería_sentence_122

The concept of the eledá derives from Yoruba traditional religion, where it is seen as the "spiritual double" of a person. Santería_sentence_123

In Santería, this idea has syncretised with Roman Catholic beliefs about guardian angels and the idea of the protecciones or protector spirits from Spiritism. Santería_sentence_124

There is no strict orthodoxy on this issue and thus there are differences in interpretation. Santería_sentence_125

Ancestor veneration plays an important role in Santería. Santería_sentence_126

The religion entails propitiating the spirits of the dead, known as egun, espíritus, or muertos. Santería_sentence_127

Practitioners believe that the dead can influence the living and must be treated with respect, awe, and kindness; they are consulted at all ceremonies. Santería_sentence_128

Although the dead are not perceived as being as powerful as the oricha, they are still regarded as having the ability to assist the living, with whom they can communicate through dreams, intuition, and spirit possession. Santería_sentence_129

Santería teaches that through practice, a person can learn to both see and communicate with the dead. Santería_sentence_130

Practitioners will often leave offerings out to the spirits of the dead to placate and please them, often in the form of seven glasses of water. Santería_sentence_131

Especially propitiated are those members of the dead who are deemed to be ancestors. Santería_sentence_132

These ancestors can either be a person's hereditary forebears or a member of their ritual group, with practitioners believing that when a creyente dies, they too become an ancestor. Santería_sentence_133

In Santería, the egun are often represented by a cane carved with anthropomorphic faces. Santería_sentence_134

Adherents believe that each individual has a cuadro espiritual ("spiritual portrait" or "spiritual picture") of various egun who protect and bless them. Santería_sentence_135

Individuals can have as many as 25 protectores, or protective ancestral spirits. Santería_sentence_136

The religion maintains that all people have multiple spirits of the dead that accompany them at all times, and that these can be either benevolent, malevolent, or a mix of both. Santería_sentence_137

Practitioners also believe that the number and identities of these spirits can be determined through divination. Santería_sentence_138

It draws a distinction between evolved spirits, who can help those they are attached to, and unevolved spirits, who lack the wisdom and skill to be useful and instead cause havoc. Santería_sentence_139

Santería teaches that through offerings and prayers, individuals can help some of their unevolved spirits to become evolved. Santería_sentence_140

Some practitioners believe that unevolved spirits lurk in the air and can be distilled by the rain, through which they can attach themselves to individuals who have been rained on. Santería_sentence_141

Santería also divides the spirits into categories which each show different traits, reflecting stereotypes about different social groups in Cuban society, with such spirits often portrayed as being African, Haitian, Gypsy, Arab, or Plains Indian. Santería_sentence_142

The gitano (gypsy) spirits for instance are believed to have the power to warn of impending troubles and diagnose illnesses while the congo spirits of Africa are perceived as strong-willed, powerful, and adept at guiding people through hostile circumstances. Santería_sentence_143

Aché Santería_section_4

The concept of aché is a major cosmological concept in Yoruba traditional religion and has been transferred to Santería. Santería_sentence_144

It is also present in other Yoruba-derived traditions such as Candomblé. Santería_sentence_145

Mason called it the "ritual generative power", the medical anthropologist Johan Wedel called it "life force" or "divine force", while Fernández Olmos and Paravisini-Gebert referred to it as "a spiritual-mystical energy or power found in varying degrees and in many forms throughout the universe". Santería_sentence_146

The ethnomusicologist Katherine Hagedorn described aché as "the realized and inherent divine potential in all aspects of life, even in apparently inert objects." Santería_sentence_147

She added that "Aché is neither good nor bad; rather, aché is motion". Santería_sentence_148

Among practitioners, aché is sometimes described as conveying notions of luck, health, and prosperity. Santería_sentence_149

Practitioners believe that aché permeates all aspects of life, but that the creator divinity Olodumare is the ultimate embodiment of it. Santería_sentence_150

Santería teaches that all beings possess aché but that initiates gain more of it. Santería_sentence_151

It holds that aché can emanate from the human body via speech, song, dance, and drumming, and can be transmitted through such acts as singing praise songs for the oricha or sacrificing an animal. Santería_sentence_152

It is seen as having the power to fortify a person's health. Santería_sentence_153

Morality, ethics, and gender roles Santería_section_5

Santería has standards for behavior and moral edicts that practitioners are expected to live by, with the religion presenting strict rules regarding how to interact with other people and with the supernatural. Santería_sentence_154

Mythological stories about the oricha contribute to the moral and social consciousness of practitioners. Santería_sentence_155

In Santería, as in other Afro-Cuban religions, respect for elders and superiors is given great emphasis. Santería_sentence_156

A general attitude in Santería is that if an individual maintains good character, the oricha will aid them. Santería_sentence_157

It does not polarise good and evil, with all things being perceived as being complementary and relative. Santería_sentence_158

Practitioners often believe that individuals have a specific destiny, usually referred to as destino (destiny) or camino (road). Santería_sentence_159

This is considered to be preordained but forgotten at birth; it is not often, however, seen as an absolute predetermination. Santería_sentence_160

Many of the ritual practices found in Santería focus on determining the nature of one's destiny. Santería_sentence_161

Many practitioners of Santería characterize their religion as being more life-affirming than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Santería_sentence_162

Several academics have described Santería as having a "here-and-now" ethos distinct from that of Christianity, and the social scientist Mercedes C. Sandoval suggested that many Cubans chose to practice Santería over Roman Catholicism or Spiritism because it emphasizes techniques for dealing with pragmatic problems in life. Santería_sentence_163

In the U.S., some African American adherents have contrasted what they regard as the African-derived ethos of Santería with the non-African origins of Christianity. Santería_sentence_164

Due to this, some practitioners have linked Santería in with their own black nationalist ideology. Santería_sentence_165

Santería places restrictions on the tasks that women are permitted to do while menstruating. Santería_sentence_166

Similar restrictions are also placed on homosexual males, traditionally prohibiting them from taking part in certain forms of divination and ritual drumming. Santería_sentence_167

However, many gay men operate as santeros, and there is an erroneous stereotype among Cubans and Cuban Americans that all Santería priests are gay men. Santería_sentence_168

Some priestesses of the religion are lesbians. Santería_sentence_169

Many gay male practitioners have expressed strong identification with Chango, a hyper-masculine oricha who nevertheless dressed as a woman to evade capture by his enemies in one of the myths about him. Santería_sentence_170

Some gay men have expressed surprise when divination indicates that it is another oricha, and not Chango, who is their personal deity. Santería_sentence_171

Pérez y Mena observed that practitioners in the United States generally adopted more progressive stances on issues surrounding gender and sexuality than their counterparts in Cuba. Santería_sentence_172

Practices Santería_section_6

Santería has an elaborate system of ritual, one which incorporates song, dance, spirit possession, and animal sacrifice. Santería_sentence_173

These rituals are known as ceremonias (ceremonies), while parties for the oricha are called güemilere. Santería_sentence_174

Much of its focus is on solving the problems of everyday life. Santería_sentence_175

Practitioners usually use the term "work" in reference both to secular and ritual activity; thus the words "working ocha" are used to describe religious rites. Santería_sentence_176

Santería is an initiatory religion, one which is organized around a structured hierarchy. Santería_sentence_177

An ethos of secrecy pervades many of its practices, with initiates often refusing to discuss certain topics with non-initiates. Santería_sentence_178

For this reason, Mason thought Santería could be described as a secret society. Santería_sentence_179

For ritual purposes, the Lucumí language is often used in Santería. Santería_sentence_180

It is sometimes referred to as la lengua de los orichas ("the language of the oricha"), and is regarded as a divine language through which practitioners can contact the oricha. Santería_sentence_181

Lucumí texts and phrases derive from the Yoruba language, although they have become "increasingly fragmented and unintelligible" since the 19th century. Santería_sentence_182

Most initiates know between a few dozen through to hundreds of Lucumí words and phrases, although there are initiates who are not comfortable using it. Santería_sentence_183

Most Cubans do not understand the Lucumí language, barring a few words that have filtered into Cuban Spanish, the daily language spoken by most practitioners. Santería_sentence_184

Most practitioners of Santería are themselves unable to offer detailed explanations of the meaning of Lucumí texts. Santería_sentence_185

As Yoruba transitioned into Lucumí over the centuries, the Yoruba pronunciations of many words were forgotten, and in the early 21st century some practitioners have made a conscious study of the Yoruba language to better understand the original meaning of Lucumí words. Santería_sentence_186

For much of the 20th century, initiates have kept libretas, notebooks in which they have written down material relevant to the practice of Santería, such as Lucumí terms or the attributes of specific oricha. Santería_sentence_187

They may share the contents of these books with their own initiates; others keep them strictly private. Santería_sentence_188

Houses of worship Santería_section_7

The building in which Santería's rituals are carried out is known as the casa templo ("house of worship"), casa de santos ("house of saints"), casa de religión ("house of religion"), or ilé. Santería_sentence_189

These casas are usually the personal home of a santero or santera. Santería_sentence_190

The casa will typically have an igbodu ("sacred grove of the festival"), an inner room where the most important rituals take place. Santería_sentence_191

There will also be an eyá aránla or sala, often a living room, where semi-private rites can be conducted. Santería_sentence_192

Another space, the iban balo, or patio, will be used for public occasions, as well as for the cultivation of plants and the housing of animals due to be sacrificed. Santería_sentence_193

Along with spaces to perform ceremonies, the casa will typically include a place to store ritual paraphernalia, kitchen facilities, and space for visiting practitioners to sleep. Santería_sentence_194

In Santería, the concept of the casa ("house") refers not only to the physical building in which ceremonies take place, but also the community of practitioners who meet there. Santería_sentence_195

In this sense, many casa trace a lineage back to the 19th century, with many santeros and santeras capable of listing the many practitioners who have been initiated into that casa over the decades. Santería_sentence_196

In some ceremonies, the names of these individuals, who are regarded as the ancestors of the house, are recited in chronological order. Santería_sentence_197

Most casa are established by a santero or santera who has attracted a following. Santería_sentence_198

Those apprentices who follow these initiates are known as their ahijado (godson) or ahijada (goddaughter). Santería_sentence_199

They refer to their santero/santera as padrino (godfather) or madrina (godmother). Santería_sentence_200

The relationship between santeros/santeras and their 'godchildren' is central to the religion's social organization. Santería_sentence_201

The 'godchildren' are expected to contribute both their labor and finances to religious events held at the casa and in return the santero/santera provides assistance for their needs. Santería_sentence_202

Within the religion, offending one's godparent is regarded as also offending the oricha that "rules the head." Santería_sentence_203

There are nevertheless cases where an initiate falls out with their godparent. Santería_sentence_204

Practitioners believe that the more godchildren a santera or santero has, the greater their aché. Santería_sentence_205

Different casa are largely autonomous, allowing for variation in their ritual practices. Santería_sentence_206

There is nevertheless often interaction between the members of different casas. Santería_sentence_207

In Cuba, it is common for Santería practitioners to meet with each other regularly, and to regard each other as being akin to a family: the familia de santo. Santería_sentence_208

Conversely, in an area like Veracruz in Mexico, many practitioners attend group rituals and then leave, sometimes never seeing their co-practitioners again. Santería_sentence_209

A ritual greeting, known as a moforibale, involves lying on the ground and bowing one's head to the floor. Santería_sentence_210

The precise form of the moforibale differs depending on whether the individual's personal oricha is male or female. Santería_sentence_211

It is performed at various points as a means of expressing respect, often in front of the altar; all practitioners prostrate themselves in this way before the oricha. Santería_sentence_212

Shrines and otanes Santería_section_8

The igbodu within the casa will typically contain an altar, while individual practitioners will also often have altars to specific oricha in their own homes. Santería_sentence_213

The process of creating these altars is considered to be expensive and time-consuming. Santería_sentence_214

Specific items will be placed on the altar that have particular relevance to the oricha it is devoted to. Santería_sentence_215

Sacred objects used in Santería are known as fundamentos (foundations); any ritual paraphernalia that is not anointed through the bautismo rite is referred to as judia (Jewish). Santería_sentence_216

Typically placed on the altar are the sopera porcelain vessels, often tureens, which contain various sacred items, most notably the otán stones (pl. otanes). Santería_sentence_217

The otán stones are regarded as both containing and representing the oricha; they have been described as the "primary representation" of the oricha in Santería. Santería_sentence_218

They are therefore understood as being alive. Santería_sentence_219

Many of the stones will have been collected from the landscape and then divination used to determine which ones contain an oricha and, if so, which oricha it is. Santería_sentence_220

Specific otanes sometimes display traits linking them to particular oricha; for example ocean stones are linked with Yemaya, river pebbles with Ochún, and meteorite fragments with Chango. Santería_sentence_221

Each oricha is deemed to prefer a particular color and number of otanes in sopera devoted to them; Chango has six or ten black stones, Obatala has eight white stones, while Ochun favors five yellow stones, for instance. Santería_sentence_222

Many practitioners place great emphasis on the stones, perceived as being sources of power, something linked to aché. Santería_sentence_223

Adherents believe that older stones have more aché than younger ones. Santería_sentence_224

Some of the most powerful stones are claimed to have been brought to Cuba from Africa by enslaved persons who concealed them within their stomachs during the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Santería_sentence_225

The otanes undergo a bautismo (baptism) rite; this allows them to be "born" and involves the being washed in osain, a mixture of herbs and water, after which they are "fed" with animal blood. Santería_sentence_226

When a santero or santera receives their stones, they take an oath to protect them at all times and to feed them at least annually. Santería_sentence_227

By feeding them, initiates believe that the stones gain the strength to aid people. Santería_sentence_228

Also placed within the sopera, alongside the otanes, are a series of cowrie shells; usually 18 are added although the precise number differs depending on which oricha the sopera is devoted to. Santería_sentence_229

The sopera will often be covered by a cloth known as a pañuelo that is colored in accordance with the oricha in question. Santería_sentence_230

Often laid over the sopera are necklaces known as collares, representing various oricha. Santería_sentence_231

Various artefacts might be selected to represent the oricha; a wooden axe for Changó or a fan for Ochún, for instance. Santería_sentence_232

The anthropologist Ysamur Flores found Chinese Taoist figurines being used to represent the oricha on one Cuban altar. Santería_sentence_233

A particularly ornate altar used in the ceremonial space is known as a trono ("throne"). Santería_sentence_234

In an igbodu there is a display of three distinct thrones (draped with royal blue, white, and red satin) that represent the seats of the queens, kings, and the deified warriors. Santería_sentence_235

Also placed on the altar are offerings of food and flowers. Santería_sentence_236

In addition to their altar to the oricha, many practitioners also have altars set aside for the spirits of the dead. Santería_sentence_237

Such altars typically consist of a white-covered table known as a bóveda, something derived from the White Table of Kardecian Spiritism. Santería_sentence_238

These often contain photographs of deceased relatives as well as offerings placed to them. Santería_sentence_239

Popular offerings for the spirits of the dead include seven glasses of water, a Cafecito coffee, and the aguardiente liquor. Santería_sentence_240

Many practitioners will also enshrine their family ancestors on the floor of the bathroom, under the sink. Santería_sentence_241

This location is chosen so that the ancestors are located below the vertical water pipes, allowing the spirits to transition between the realms via water, which is their preferred medium for travel. Santería_sentence_242

Offerings and animal sacrifice Santería_section_9

In Santería, offerings to the oricha are referred to as ebbó or ébo. Santería_sentence_243

These can consist of fruit, flowers, candles, or slaughtered animals; Santería thus entails animal sacrifice, an act known as matanza. Santería_sentence_244

Initiates are expected to make a sacrifice on a regular basis, and at least once a year. Santería_sentence_245

Sometimes, divination is used to determine when a sacrifice should take place. Santería_sentence_246

The sacrifice is an offering to the deity; blood is regarded as the food of the oricha. Santería_sentence_247

Practitioners typically believe that by killing an animal in this fashion, its lifeforce is directly transferred to the oricha, thereby strengthening the latter's aché. Santería_sentence_248

An animal that struggles to avoid being killed is sometimes understood as having particular strength which will then pass to the oricha. Santería_sentence_249

Birds are commonly used for the ritual, including guinea fowl, chickens, and doves. Santería_sentence_250

Methods of killing include having their throats slit or their heads twisted and ripped off. Santería_sentence_251

Mason recounted a sacrifice as part of an initiaton whereby a chick was slammed against a sink to kill it. Santería_sentence_252

For rituals of greater importance, sacrifices are often of four-legged animals, including dogs. Santería_sentence_253

Once killed, the animal's severed heads may be placed on top of the vessels containing objects associated with the oricha to which the sacrifice has been directed. Santería_sentence_254

After the animal's carcass has been butchered, some of the organs may be cooked and then offered to the oricha. Santería_sentence_255

Some practitioners have explained that animal sacrifice is used as an acceptable substitute to human sacrifice. Santería_sentence_256

Due to its links with blood, menstruating women are generally prohibited from involvement in matanza rituals. Santería_sentence_257

When a sacrifice is made, some of the blood may be added to omiero, an infusion of herbs and water that is regarded as the most powerful liquid in Santería. Santería_sentence_258

Regarded as containing much aché, this liquid is used for removing malevolent influences, in ceremonies for baptising ritual tools, and for washing the hands of the matador before they carry out a sacrifice. Santería_sentence_259

Santería's animal sacrifice has been a cause of concern for many non-practitioners, and has brought adherents into confrontation with the law. Santería_sentence_260

In the U.S., various casas were raided by police and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, leading to groups being more secretive about when their rituals were scheduled. Santería_sentence_261

In 1993, the issue of animal sacrifice in Santería was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. Santería_sentence_262

The court ruled that animal cruelty laws targeted specifically at Santería were unconstitutional. Santería_sentence_263

In 2009, legal and religious issues that related to animal sacrifice, animal rights, and freedom of religion were taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Jose Merced, President Templo Yoruba Omo Orisha Texas, Inc., v. City of Euless. Santería_sentence_264

The court ruled that the city of Euless, Texas was interfering in Merced's right to religious freedom by preventing him from sacrificing animals. Santería_sentence_265

Practitioners will often conduct an ébbo with the hope of receiving something in return from the oricha. Santería_sentence_266

If this fails to materialise, practitioners may resort to several explanations: that the details of the ritual were incorrect, that the priest or priestess carrying out the rite lacked sufficient aché, or that the wrong ébbo was carried out for the situation. Santería_sentence_267

Initiation Santería_section_10

Main article: Initiation in Santería Santería_sentence_268

Initiation is known as kariocha, "making ocha", or "making santo". Santería_sentence_269

A charge is usually levied for initiation; this varies depending on the status of the practitioner and the wealth of the client but is often the equivalent of a year's wage, or more. Santería_sentence_270

Santería initiation ceremonies derive from those in Yoruba traditional religion but is almost always carried out for adults, whereas among the Yoruba, initiation can also involve children. Santería_sentence_271

Each initiation varies in its details, although practitioners often try to ensure a veil of secrecy around the process, ensuring that the precise details are not discovered by non-initiates. Santería_sentence_272

The initiate is known as an iyabó or iyawó, a term meaning both "slave of the oricha" and "bride of the oricha". Santería_sentence_273

As well as the santero or santera overseeing the initiation ceremony, the event may be attended by an oyubona ("one who witnesses"), who acts as a secondary godparent to the new initiate. Santería_sentence_274

The process of initiation takes place over seven days, with an additional two days of preparatory rituals. Santería_sentence_275

Before the main seven-day ceremony, usually two days before, a misa espiritual will often take place to gain the blessings of the ancestral egun. Santería_sentence_276

During this ritual, it is common for the egun to be invited to possess the initiate. Santería_sentence_277

One day before the main events, an ebó de entrada ("opening sacrifice") often takes place, with sacrifices being made to either the oricha or the egun. Santería_sentence_278

Next comes the ceremonia del río (ceremony of the initiate), which involves the oyubona and the initiate. Santería_sentence_279

It entails honey and the ochinchín omelette being offered to the oricha Ochún, with the oyubona then engaging in divination to determine if Ochún has accepted the sacrifice. Santería_sentence_280

In the rompimiento (breaking), the oyubona then takes the initiate to a river. Santería_sentence_281

There, the initiate has their clothing ripped off of them before they are washed in the river water, used both as a purification and to gain Ochún's blessing. Santería_sentence_282

The rest of the initiation takes place in the igbodu, or inner sanctum of the casa. Santería_sentence_283

For the rest of the seven days, the initiate remains here, sleeping upon a mat on the floor. Santería_sentence_284

No one who is not directly involved in the initiation ceremonies is permitted entry. Santería_sentence_285

During the prendición (pinning) ritual, a heavy necklace known as the collar de mazo is placed on the initiate. Santería_sentence_286

Also taking place here is the lavatorio ("washing"); the santero/santera overseeing the procedure washes the initiate in omiero, a type of sacred water that has been infused with various herbs. Santería_sentence_287

This is done to rid the initiate of malevolent or harmful spirits of the dead which might have attached themselves. Santería_sentence_288

The initiate's head usually receives most attention in this washing; often, their hair will be shaved off. Santería_sentence_289

This cleansing of the head is known as the rogación de cabeza. Santería_sentence_290

The new initiate is given beaded necklaces, known as elekes, ilekes, or collares. Santería_sentence_291

Each of these necklaces is given a different color associated with a specific deity. Santería_sentence_292

They are also given their own sacred stones. Santería_sentence_293

An additional ritual, known as "receiving the warriors", is a ritual where the initiated receives objects from their padrino that represents the warrior oricha. Santería_sentence_294

At some point during the week, and usually on the third day, the initiate will undergo the itá, a session with a diviner in which the latter will inform them about their strengths, weaknesses, and taboos that they should observe. Santería_sentence_295

This is known as the día del itá ("day of history"). Santería_sentence_296

At this point, the initiate's Lucumí ritual name will be revealed by the diviner; this is a praise name of the oricha which rules their head. Santería_sentence_297

It will often incorporate elements which indicate the initiate's tutelary oricha; devotees of Yemajá for instance usually include omí ("water") in their name, while those of Changó often have obá ("king"). Santería_sentence_298

This next ritual is known as the asiento (seating), or the coronación (coronation), and it is believed that it marks the point when the aché of the tutelary oricha which "rules their head" is literally placed inside the initiate's cranium. Santería_sentence_299

The otánes of various oricha are placed to the head of the initiate, culminating in those of their own tutelary oricha. Santería_sentence_300

A matanza animal sacrifice usually follows, designed to feed all of the major oricha. Santería_sentence_301

At least five four-legged animals are usually killed at this point, often accompanied by 25 birds. Santería_sentence_302

The initiate then performs the moforiba by lying on the ground as a sign of respect to the oricha that they have received. Santería_sentence_303

Then they rise and are welcomed by their godparent, reflecting that they are now part of their casa. Santería_sentence_304

The following day is el Día del Medio ("the middle day"), a public celebration at the initiation. Santería_sentence_305

Guests, who may include the initiate's family and friends, visit them to pay homage. Santería_sentence_306

A drumming ceremony takes place, after which the assembled individuals feast on meat from animals killed the day before. Santería_sentence_307

On the seventh day of the initiation, which is usually a market or church day in Cuba, the new initiate leaves the casa and visits the marketplace, where they make offerings to Eleguá and steals something small, also as an offering to Eleguá. Santería_sentence_308

The new initiate can finally take their tureen containing their otanes back to their home. Santería_sentence_309

They may then undergo a year-long period known as the iyaworaje ("journey of the iyawo") during which they are expected to observe various restrictions. Santería_sentence_310

The nature of these restrictions depends on the initiate's tutelary oricha. Santería_sentence_311

For instance, Hagedorn related that after her initiation into a Cuban casa, her initiator required her to sleep and eat on the floor for three months, abstain from sexual intercourse for 16 days, and both wear only white and not cut her hair for a year. Santería_sentence_312

These actions help to display the initiate's commitment to the religion and demarcate them from non-initiates. Santería_sentence_313

At the end of the year, the initiate conducts a ceremony known as ebó del año. Santería_sentence_314

It is only once this is done that they are allowed to lead many rituals and to be involved in the initiation of new converts. Santería_sentence_315

The annual celebration of one's initiation into the religion is known as the cumpleaños de santo ("birthday in the saint"). Santería_sentence_316

As an initiate becomes more deeply involved in the religion, they learn about each of the different deities and make offerings to each of them in exchange for spiritual blessings and aché. Santería_sentence_317

They are expected to familiarise themselves with various herbs and their different associations and uses. Santería_sentence_318

Santeros and santeras often emphasise this teaching in a non-verbal manner, encouraging their initiate to learn through taking part in the ritual activities. Santería_sentence_319

As they gain more knowledge, the initiate is referred to as a serio ("serious"), indicating their greater commitment to the religion. Santería_sentence_320

Toque de santo Santería_section_11

The main public ritual performance in Santería is a drumming ceremony known as toque de santo, sometimes also called a tambor. Santería_sentence_321

Many practitioners consider it to be the religion's most powerful ceremony. Santería_sentence_322

The term toque links to both the verb tocar ("to play") as well as the noun toque ("rhythm"). Santería_sentence_323

The toque de santo is usually seen as an offering to the oricha, and practitioners may organize one to gain a particular favor from these deities. Santería_sentence_324

The toque may last for several hours, although can be shorter than this. Santería_sentence_325

The goal of the rhythms and songs is to summon the oricha to earth; it is the collective energy built up by the group that is believed to be necessary in achieving this. Santería_sentence_326

In turn, the oricha are believed capable of soothing the grieving, healing the sick, blessing the deserving, and rebuking those who have behaved badly. Santería_sentence_327

Drumming Santería_section_12

The toque de santo is marked out by its use of double-headed drums called batá, which is sometimes regarded as the central symbol of Santería. Santería_sentence_328

There are multiple types of batá: the iyá is the largest, the itótele is smaller, and the okónkolo is the smallest. Santería_sentence_329

For ceremonial purposes, these drums must be made from wood, with no metal structural elements; adding metal elements could offend Chango, who is associated with wooden artefacts, because of their association with his enemy, Ogun. Santería_sentence_330

They may however have brass bells, known as chaworo, affixed to their rim; these bells are associated with Ochún. Santería_sentence_331

Before they are used in ceremonies, these drums are typically baptized, after which they are referred to as a tambor de fundamento. Santería_sentence_332

This process includes washing the drums in omiero and making sacrifices to Osain. Santería_sentence_333

It also included the addition of an afoubo, a small leather bag containing items including a parrot feather and glass beads, to the interior of the drum. Santería_sentence_334

Practitioners believe that the consecrated batá drums contain a sacred inner substance known as añá. Santería_sentence_335

This añá is perceived as an avatar of Ochún. Santería_sentence_336

Many drummers avoid referring to the añá in public and may not refer to it by name. Santería_sentence_337

Drums which have not been consecrated are not viewed as containing añá, and are called tambores judìos ('Jewish drums'); a term which Hagedorn attributed to the historic antisemitism of Cuban culture. Santería_sentence_338

Each oricha is associated with its own rhythms, which can be played on the drums. Santería_sentence_339

Some of the rhythms played on the drums are associated either with a certain group of oricha or all of the oricha. Santería_sentence_340

Those playing the batá are referred to as batáleros. Santería_sentence_341

Santería drumming is male dominated; Hagedorn observed that this drum culture was "pervasively macho". Santería_sentence_342

Women are discouraged from playing the batá during ceremonies, as it is feared that their menstrual blood would weaken the añá of the drum. Santería_sentence_343

Many practitioners believe that the women will be rendered infertile if they do so. Santería_sentence_344

Many groups also argue that the men playing these drums must be heterosexual. Santería_sentence_345

Hagedorn noted that, during the 1990s, some female practitioners in the United States had started playing the batá at ceremonies, in contradiction with the older taboo. Santería_sentence_346

Singing and dancing Santería_section_13

At these ceremonies, praise songs for the oricha are sung. Santería_sentence_347

Each oricha is associated with their own specific songs. Santería_sentence_348

The lead singer at such ceremonies is known as an akpwón. Santería_sentence_349

Hagedorn characterized the akpwón as a "religious mediator" whose role was to focus on bringing down the oricha. Santería_sentence_350

During the opening verse of the song, the akpwón may break into a personal prayer. Santería_sentence_351

The akpwón can switch from song to song quickly, with the drummers having to adapt their rhythm accordingly. Santería_sentence_352

A chorus of singers will respond to the akpwón, often while swaying back and forth. Santería_sentence_353

These choral responses may split into a two or three-part harmony. Santería_sentence_354

Each of the oricha is associated with a particular dance. Santería_sentence_355

The dances at the toque de santo are believed to generate aché, strengthening the link between the realms of the oricha and humanity. Santería_sentence_356

Dancing either alone or first in front of the drums at the toque de santo is considered a privilege and is usually reserved for the most experienced initiate present. Santería_sentence_357

There are specific rules of engagement that are laid out for taking part in the toque de santo. Santería_sentence_358

Dancing poorly in the toque de santo is considered an insult to the oricha. Santería_sentence_359

Possession Santería_section_14

Possession plays an important part in Santería, and the purpose of the toque de santo is to call down an oricha to possess one of the participants. Santería_sentence_360

Those possessed may then display gestures that are associated with a particular oricha. Santería_sentence_361

For instance, those believing themselves possessed by Ochun may wipe their skirt over other people, representing the waves of the ocean, while those regarding themselves as being possessed by Eleguá may steal items such as hats or jewellery from assembled participants. Santería_sentence_362

The possessed will often speak in the Lucumí language. Santería_sentence_363

During the possession, the possessed individual is referred to as the "horse", with the oricha having "mounted" them. Santería_sentence_364

According to practitioners, becoming possessed by an oricha requires an individual giving up their consciousness to the deity, and accordingly they often claim no memory of the events that occurred during the possession. Santería_sentence_365

Some have stated that reaching the mental state whereby an individual can become possessed takes much practice. Santería_sentence_366

Once an individual is possessed, they may be taken into an adjacent room where they are dressed in the ritual clothing pertaining to the possessing oricha, after which they are returned to the main room. Santería_sentence_367

The possessed individual will then provide healing or dispense advice; sometimes a possessed person will reprimand others present, for instance for failing to carry out their ritual obligations, or warn them of something. Santería_sentence_368

Possession permits practitioners the opportunity to interact directly with their deity. Santería_sentence_369

Some practitioners have also reported becoming possessed by an oricha in non-ritual contexts, such as while sleeping or walking through the streets. Santería_sentence_370

Toque de santo are rarely documented with photographs or through audio or visual recording because the religion's practitioners often regard such recordings as being offensive or sacrilegious. Santería_sentence_371

However, the toque is also often performed for entertainment purposes, outside of the ritual environment; Hagedorn referred to these non-religious toques as "folkloric performances". Santería_sentence_372

These may be performed much the same as those performed at Santería rituals, although will not be conducted with the intent of calling down the oricha. Santería_sentence_373

Some drumming groups who perform toque at both religious and non-religious events may omit certain parts from the latter to distinguish them from the former. Santería_sentence_374

There have also been cases whereby those attending non-religious toques have still felt themselves to be possessed by an oricha. Santería_sentence_375

Various innovations devised for non-religious toques have subsequently filtered back into the performance of Santería rites. Santería_sentence_376

Healing practices Santería_section_15

Healing is an important practice in Santería, and health problems are the most common reason why people approach a santero or santera. Santería_sentence_377

Clients meet with santeros or santeras to receive healing treatments, with those dispensing healing practices sometimes being termed curanderos, or osainistas. Santería_sentence_378

These practitioners typically use divination to determine the cause of an ailment before prescribing treatment. Santería_sentence_379

Santería teaches that supernatural factors cause or exacerbate human ailments. Santería_sentence_380

It is believed that oricha may make someone sick, either as punishment for transgression or to encourage them to make a change in their life, often to become an initiate. Santería_sentence_381

The oricha must then be propitiated to stop, sometimes with the sick individual receiving initiation. Santería_sentence_382

Santería also holds that a spirit of the dead may attach itself to an individual and cause them harm that way. Santería_sentence_383

Adherents also often believe that humans can harm one another through supernatural means, either involuntarily, by giving them the mal de ojo (evil eye), or deliberately, through the use of brujería (witchcraft). Santería_sentence_384

The latter are often perceived as acting out of envy, and as having utilised cursing techniques from Palo Monte. Santería_sentence_385

Herbalism is a major component of Santería healing practices, with plants having an important role in the religion. Santería_sentence_386

Practitioners believe that each species of plant has its own aché and that it is this which holds healing power. Santería_sentence_387

In the Lucumí language, such plants are called egwe, a term deriving from the Yoruba word ewe. Santería_sentence_388

Practitioners often believe that medicinal plants are more powerful if harvested from the wild rather than being cultivated, for the latter can lack aché. Santería_sentence_389

They often also believe that different types of plant have different temperaments and personalities; some are shy or easily frightened and thus need to be approached with the appropriate etiquette. Santería_sentence_390

The santero/santera may also prescribe omiero, the infusion of herbs in water which practitioners believe has healing properties. Santería_sentence_391

Aside from the use of herbs, Santería traditional healing rituals include animal sacrifice, offerings, altar building, music, dance, and possession trance. Santería_sentence_392

Practitioners also believe that certain oricha should be turned to assist the healing of specific ailments; Ochun is for instance usually requested when dealing with genital problems. Santería_sentence_393

Particular focuses of Santería healing include issues of female reproduction, skin complaints, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, and sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis and gonorrhoea. Santería_sentence_394

Other practitioners have provided concoctions designed to induce abortion. Santería_sentence_395

A common response to ailments is for Santería healers to prescribe a spiritual cleansing and/or a bath. Santería_sentence_396

Many santeros and santeras oversee a healing ritual called the santiguo meaning "to bless" or "to heal by blessing"; this is particularly used for children. Santería_sentence_397

People who are sick may undergo the rogación de la cabeza (blessing of the head) ritual, in which coconut water and cotton are applied on the head. Santería_sentence_398

Practitioners believe that in doing so, they are feeding the head, in which the orí resides. Santería_sentence_399

Many practitioners will encourage their clients to seek mainstream medical assistance, either from doctors or psychotherapists, for their problems, arguing that their own techniques should be complementary rather than exclusive. Santería_sentence_400

Divination Santería_section_16

Divination is a central aspect of Santería ritual, taking place before all major rites and being utilized by devotees at critical moments of their life. Santería_sentence_401

Three main divinatory techniques are employed in the religion: Obi, dilogún, and Ifá. Santería_sentence_402

Highly skilled diviners are known as oríate, or as italeros. Santería_sentence_403

Clients will approach these diviners for a divinatory session, referred to as a consulta (consultation), usually to ask for advice about their health, family problems, or legal issues. Santería_sentence_404

Some initiates work every day as an oríate. Santería_sentence_405

The client will pay the diviner for their services, with the fee referred to as a derecho. Santería_sentence_406

Attending a divination ritual in this way is commonly the first time that an individual encounters Santería so directly. Santería_sentence_407

During the session, an image of the overseeing oricha is often brought out and offerings of food placed before it. Santería_sentence_408

The diviner will then cast small objects onto a board or table and draw interpretations based on the way in which they fall. Santería_sentence_409

The diviner asks the client various questions and then seeks to answer them by making multiple throws. Santería_sentence_410

The diviner will ultimately determine which oricha will assist the client in dealing with their problems and outline what sacrifices will be appropriate to secure the aid of said oricha. Santería_sentence_411

Obi, which is also known as Biagué, involves the casting of four pieces of a dried coconut shell, with the manner in which they fall being used to fathom an answer to a particular question. Santería_sentence_412

Any practitioner can utilise this divinatory technique, which is also employed by adherents of Palo Monte. Santería_sentence_413

Dilogún entails the casting of cowrie shells, and is considered more complex in that it requires a knowledge of the patakie stories. Santería_sentence_414

Dilogún typically entails the use of a set of 21 cowrie shells, filed flat on their round side; these are fed with both omiero and blood. Santería_sentence_415

Like Obi, dilogún is generally seen as being open to all practitioners of Santería, although some groups hold that only postmenopausal women should hold the role of italeras, a diviner who uses the shells. Santería_sentence_416

Santería involves the use of the Ifá divination system, which is often understood as the most complex and prestigious form of divination used in the religion. Santería_sentence_417

The two are closely linked, sharing the same mythology and conception of the universe, although Ifá also has a separate existence from Santería. Santería_sentence_418

High priests of Ifá are known as babalawos and although their presence is not essential to Santería ceremonies, they often attend in their capacity as diviners. Santería_sentence_419

In Cuba, many individuals are both santeros and babalawos, although it is not uncommon for babalawos to perceive themselves as being superior to most santeros. Santería_sentence_420

Unlike the more open policy for Santería initiates, only heterosexual men are traditionally allowed to become babalawos, although homosexual male babalawos have been recorded both in Cuba and the U.S. Women are prohibited from taking on the role, a restriction explained through the story that the oricha Orula was furious that Yemaya, his wife, had used his tabla divining board and subsequently decided to ban women from ever touching it again. Santería_sentence_421

Initiation as a babalawo requires a payment to the initiator and is typically regarded as highly expensive. Santería_sentence_422

The oricha of Ifá, Orula or Ọ̀rúnmila, also has a prominent place within Santería. Santería_sentence_423

Orula is believed to oversee divination; once an individual is initiated as a babalawo they are given a pot containing various items, including palm nuts, which is believed to be the literal embodiment of Orula. Santería_sentence_424

Babalawos provide ebbó offerings to Orula, including animal sacrifices and gifts of money. Santería_sentence_425

In Cuba, Ifá typically involves the casting of consecrated palm nuts to answer a specific question. Santería_sentence_426

The babalawo then interprets the message of the nuts depending on how they have fallen; there are 256 possible configurations in the Ifá system, which the babalawo is expected to have memorised. Santería_sentence_427

Individuals approach the babalawo seeking guidance, often on financial matters, at which the diviner will consult Orula through the established divinatory method. Santería_sentence_428

In turn, those visiting the babalawos pay them for their services. Santería_sentence_429

Charms and amulets Santería_section_17

Santería features the creation of protective charms known as resguardos. Santería_sentence_430

These are created using herbs and blood and produced while in contact with the otanes, from which they are believed to gain invisible fluid. Santería_sentence_431

Resguardos are often given to small children, who are deemed particularly vulnerable to sorcery. Santería_sentence_432

Charms and amulets are also used as a general prophylaxis against illness, as for instance with ears of corn which are wrapped in purple ribbon and placed behind a doorway. Santería_sentence_433

Other rituals are designed to protect against sorcery, as for instance with the scattering of petals of the gálan de día in the house or the placement of okra by the door. Santería_sentence_434

In Cuba, protective rituals from Santería have often been invoked in hospitals to prevent the cambio de vida (life switch), a practice by which the ailments of a sick person are believed to be transferred to another individual, often without the latter's knowledge. Santería_sentence_435

The rituals for self-protection have also resulted in Santería being adopted by various groups involved in narcotics trafficking within the U.S. Santería_sentence_436

Espiritismo and the dead Santería_section_18

See also: Espiritismo Santería_sentence_437

In Santería, funeral rites are called itulu, and are designed to appease the soul of the deceased. Santería_sentence_438

As part of this, a funeral mass is held in a Roman Catholic church nine days after the individual has died to ensure that their soul successfully travels to the realm of the spirits. Santería_sentence_439

This is followed by a year of additional rites for the deceased individual. Santería_sentence_440

This period is then ended with the levantamiento de platos, the breaking of a dish, to symbolise the final departure of the deceased from the realm of the living. Santería_sentence_441

As well as having been influenced by Spiritism during the 19th century, Santería is often intertwined with Espiritismo, a Puerto Rican tradition focused on contacting the dead; this is particularly the case in areas such as New York and New Jersey. Santería_sentence_442

This has resulted in references to "Santerismo" as a blend between the two traditions. Santería_sentence_443

Various santeros or santeras are believed to have the power to communicate with spirits. Santería_sentence_444

Some practitioners engage in seances to communicate with the spirits of the dead, known as misas espirituales ("spiritual masses") which are led by mortevas ("deaders") who are usually women. Santería_sentence_445

During these rituals, the medium may be possessed by a spirit of the dead, who then engages in healing practices or offers advice and warning to assembled people. Santería_sentence_446

These are a practice adopted from Espiritismo. Santería_sentence_447

They are often included as a part of both initiation and funerary rites. Santería_sentence_448

An additional ritual found in Santería is the tambor para egún, a drum ceremony for the spirits of the dead. Santería_sentence_449

Some practitioners whose approach to Santería is influenced by Espiritismo also create cloth dolls for deceased family members and spirit guides. Santería_sentence_450

In these instances, the spirit is believed to enter and inhabit the doll; some practitioners state that they can see the spirit within the doll. Santería_sentence_451

Sometimes the clothing on these dolls is changed to please the inhabiting spirit, while offerings, such as glasses of water or fruit, are placed before them. Santería_sentence_452

These spirit dolls may also be passed down through the generations in a single family. Santería_sentence_453

History Santería_section_19

Enslavement: 1511–1886 Santería_section_20

After the Spanish Empire conquered Cuba, the island's indigenous Arawak and Ciboney saw their population's dramatically decline. Santería_sentence_454

The Spanish colonialists established sugar, tobacco, and coffee plantations on Cuba and turned to the purchase of slaves sold at West African ports as a new source of labor for these plantations. Santería_sentence_455

Slavery was then active in Spain, and was also widespread in West Africa, where those captured in war or deemed guilty of severe crimes were commonly condemned to enslavement. Santería_sentence_456

Enslaved Africans first arrived on Cuba in 1511. Santería_sentence_457

Once there, they were divided into groups termed naciones (nations), often based on their West African port of embarkation rather than their own ethno-cultural background; those who were Yoruba speakers, as well as Arara and Ibo people, were commonly identified as the "Lucumí nation". Santería_sentence_458

The United Kingdom had abolished slavery in the early 19th century and from the 1820s began patrolling the West African coast to prevent further shipments of slaves to the Americas. Santería_sentence_459

The trade nevertheless continued clandestinely, with Cuba continuing to receive new slaves until at least 1860. Santería_sentence_460

Full emancipation occurred on Cuba in 1886. Santería_sentence_461

Between 702,000 and 1 million enslaved Africans were brought to Cuba. Santería_sentence_462

The majority arrived in the 19th century, in the wake of the late 18th century sugar boom. Santería_sentence_463

Most came from a stretch of Western Africa between the modern nation-states of Guinea and Angola. Santería_sentence_464

The great plurality were Yoruba, from the area encompassed by the modern states of Nigeria and Benin; the Yoruba had a shared language and culture but were divided among different states. Santería_sentence_465

Most adhered to a complex system of belief and ritual, now known as Yoruba traditional religion, that had developed among the Yoruba city-states. Santería_sentence_466

Much orisha worship was rooted in localised tradition, however certain orisha were worshipped widely, due in part to the extent and influence of the Yoruba-led Oyo Empire. Santería_sentence_467

Enslaved West Africans brought their traditional religion with them to Cuba; some were from the priestly class and possessed knowledge of traditions such as Ifá. Santería_sentence_468

In Cuba, these traditions adapted to the new social conditions of the enslaved population. Santería_sentence_469

While hundreds of orisha were worshipped across West Africa, fewer than twenty came to play a prominent role in Santería; this may be because many orisha were rooted in kin-based cults and thus were lost when traditional kinship networks and families were destroyed through enslavement. Santería_sentence_470

Oricha associated with the protection of agriculture also ceased to remain part of practices in Cuba, probably because enslaved Afro-Cubans had little reason to protect the harvests owned by the slave-owners. Santería_sentence_471

Many of the myths associated with the oricha were transformed in Cuba, creating kinship relationships between different oricha which were not present in traditional West African mythologies. Santería_sentence_472

Over time, the imported traditional African religions transformed into Santería, a Cuban tradition that was evident by the end of the 19th century. Santería_sentence_473

In Spanish Cuba, Roman Catholicism was the only religion that could be practiced legally. Santería_sentence_474

The Roman Catholic Church in Cuba made efforts to convert the enslaved Africans, but the instruction in Roman Catholicism provided to the latter was typically perfunctory and sporadic. Santería_sentence_475

Many Spanish slave-owners were uninterested in having their slaves receive Christian instruction, concerned that allowing the slaves to observe religious holidays or Sunday services would be detrimental to productivity. Santería_sentence_476

Most Roman Catholic priests were located in urban areas, away from the majority of the enslaved population who worked on rural plantations. Santería_sentence_477

In Cuba, traditional African religions continued to be practiced within clubs and fraternal organizations made up of African migrants and their descendants. Santería_sentence_478

The most important of these were the cabildos de nación, associations modelled on Europe's cofradias which were sponsored by the Church and which the establishment regarded as a means of controlling the Afro-Cuban population. Santería_sentence_479

These operated as mutual aid societies and organised communal feasts, dances, and carnivals. Santería_sentence_480

Cuba's Roman Catholic Church saw these groups as a method for gradual evangelisation, through which they tolerated the practice of some African customs while stamping out those they most fiercely objected to. Santería_sentence_481

It was within the cabildos that syncretism between Roman Catholicism and African traditional religions took place, and where Santería probably first developed. Santería_sentence_482

Members identified traditional African deities with Roman Catholic figures such as Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints, believing that these entities would assist people in their daily lives in return for offerings. Santería_sentence_483

From 1790, Cuba's government increased restrictions on the cabildos. Santería_sentence_484

However, during the nineteenth century, their functions and membership expanded. Santería_sentence_485

In 1882 a new regulation was passed requiring each cabildo to obtain a new license to operate each year, and in 1884 they were prohibited from practicing on Christmas Eve or January 6. Santería_sentence_486

In 1888, the law forbade "old style" cabildos, after which many of these groups went underground, becoming some of the early casas de santo. Santería_sentence_487

Over time, various individuals of non-African descent also converted to Santería. Santería_sentence_488

Formally, these individuals were considered Roman Catholics, but their involvement in Roman Catholicism rarely extended beyond an initial baptism. Santería_sentence_489

After enslavement: 1887–1959 Santería_section_21

After slavery was abolished in Cuba there was a renewed push for independence from the Spanish Empire, an idea promoted by Cuban nationalists who emphasized cultural assimilation of the island's various ethnic groups to create a united sense of 'Cuban-ness'. Santería_sentence_490

While the country's Creole socio-economic elite sought to fuse different ethnic identities, they still expressed anxieties about the potential Africanisation of Cuba. Santería_sentence_491

After independence, Afro-Cubans remained largely excluded from economic and political power, while negative stereotypes about them remained pervasive throughout the Euro-Cuban population. Santería_sentence_492

Afro-Cuban religious practices were often referred to as brujería ('witchcraft') and linked to criminality in the popular imagination. Santería_sentence_493

Although religious freedom was enshrined in the Cuban constitution and Santería was never legislated against, throughout the first half of the 20th century various campaigns were launched against it. Santería_sentence_494

In 1876 a law was passed banning the Abakuá fraternal society, an Afro-Cuban religious group which had become widely associated with criminal activity. Santería_sentence_495

These were often encouraged by the press, who promoted allegations that white children were being abducted and murdered in Santería rituals; this reached a fever pitch in 1904 after two white children were murdered in Havana in cases that investigators speculated were linked to brujería. Santería_sentence_496

The final decades of the 19th century had also seen growing interest in Spiritism, a religion based on the ideas of French writer Allan Kardec, which in Cuba proved particularly popular among the white peasantry, the Creole class, and the small urban middle-class. Santería_sentence_497

Ideas from Spiritism increasingly filtered into and influenced Santería. Santería_sentence_498

One of the first intellectuals to examine Santería was the lawyer and ethnographer Fernando Ortiz, who discussed it in his 1906 book Los negros brujos (The Black Witchdoctors). Santería_sentence_499

He saw it as a barrier to the social integration of Afro-Cubans into broader Cuban society and recommended that it be suppressed. Santería_sentence_500

In the 1920s, there were efforts to incorporate elements of Afro-Cuban culture into a broader understanding of Cuban culture, such as through the afrocubanismo literary and artistic movement. Santería_sentence_501

These often drew upon Afro-Cuban music, dance, and mythology, but typically rejected Santería rituals themselves. Santería_sentence_502

In May 1936, Ortiz sponsored the first ethnographic conference on Santería music. Santería_sentence_503

In 1942, Rómula Lachatañeré's Manuel de santería was published, representing the first scholarly attempt to understand Santería as a religion; in contrast to Ortiz, he maintained that the tradition should be seen as a religious system as opposed to a form of witchcraft. Santería_sentence_504

Lachatañeré was instrumental in promoting the term "Santería" in reference to the phenomenon, deeming it a more neutral description that the pejorative-laden terms such as brujería which were commonly used. Santería_sentence_505

In Marxist–Leninist Cuba: 1959–present Santería_section_22

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 resulted in the island becoming a Marxist–Leninist state governed by Fidel Castro's Communist Party of Cuba. Santería_sentence_506

Much of the Afro-Cuban population was supportive of Castro's new administration, believing that they had the most to gain from the change. Santería_sentence_507

This administration espoused an expressly anti-racist position while retaining previous governments' focus on cultural integration rather than stressing and encouraging cultural difference among Cuba's ethnic groups. Santería_sentence_508

Castro's government saw any emphasis on a separate Afro-Cuban identity as being counter-revolutionary. Santería_sentence_509

Like other Marxist–Leninist states, it was committed to state atheism and to the ultimate eradication of religion, resulting in the government taking a negative view of Santería. Santería_sentence_510

Practitioners continued to experience police harassment through to the 1980s, were denied membership of the Communist Party, and faced limited employment opportunities. Santería_sentence_511

Santería practitioners required police permission to perform rituals, permission which was sometimes denied. Santería_sentence_512

In 1982, Cuba's government established the Departmento de Estudios Sociorreligiosos (Department of Socio-Religious Studies, DESR), which investigated Santería from a Marxist perspective, largely portraying the religion as a primitive survival of animism and magic. Santería_sentence_513

The DESR research found that while Christianity had declined in Cuba since 1959, Santería had not. Santería_sentence_514

Partly this was because the increased employment among Cubans following the revolution had allowed more individuals to afford the initiation fees. Santería_sentence_515

While taking a negative view of Santería, the state sought to adopt and promote many of the art forms associated with it in the hope of secularizing them and using them in the promotion of a unified Cuban identity. Santería_sentence_516

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, at which Cuba lost its main source of international support, Castro's government declared that the country was entering a "Special Period" in which new economic measures would be necessary. Santería_sentence_517

In these years it selectively supported various traditional Afro-Cuban customs and traditions and legalised certain Santería practices. Santería_sentence_518

These measures were partly linked to a desire to boost tourism, with Santería-focused tourism being called santurismo. Santería_sentence_519

Afro-Cuban floor shows became common in Cuban hotels. Santería_sentence_520

Priests of Santería, Ifá, and Palo Monte all took part in government-sponsored tours for foreigners desiring initiation into such traditions. Santería_sentence_521

In 1991, the Cuban Communist Party approved the admission of religious members, and in 1992 the constitution was amended to declare Cuba a secular rather than an atheist state. Santería_sentence_522

The government's move away from the state atheism it previously espoused allowed Santería to leave behind the marginalisation it had faced, and throughout the 1990s Santería began to be practiced more openly in Cuba. Santería_sentence_523

Growing Yorubization and transnational activity Santería_section_23

The Cuban Revolution generated an exodus of many Cubans, who settled in other parts of the Americas, especially the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. Santería_sentence_524

Although initial waves of migrants were predominantly white and middle-class, by the Mariel boatlift exodus of the 1980s the migrants included larger numbers of Afro-Cubans. Santería_sentence_525

With an increased Cuban presence in the U.S., Santería began to grow in many large U.S. cities, where it was embraced both by Latino Americans but also European Americans and African Americans. Santería_sentence_526

For many African Americans, it was seen as a more authentically African religion than others available to them, especially when purged of European-derived Roman Catholic elements. Santería_sentence_527

For some of these individuals, it became a religious wing of the Black Power movement. Santería_sentence_528

During the mid-1960s, several African American practitioners established the Yoruba Temple of Harlem. Santería_sentence_529

In the second half of the twentieth century, there was a growing awareness among santeros/santeras of the trans-national links that their religion had with other orisha-worshipping belief systems in West Africa and the Americas. Santería_sentence_530

This was accompanied by growing contact with other orisha-worshippers elsewhere. Santería_sentence_531

Collectively, these different movements were increasingly described as the "Orisha Tradition." Santería_sentence_532

This process was partly influenced by the 1957 visit to Cuba of the French photographer and ethnographer Pierre Verger, who promoted a pan-Yoruba theology. Santería_sentence_533

These transnational links were reinforced when the Ooni of Ife, a prominent Yoruba political and religious leader, visited Cuba in 1987. Santería_sentence_534

Cuba's government permitted the formation of the Yoruba Cultural Association, a non-governmental organization, in the early 1990s. Santería_sentence_535

In July 2003, Havana hosted the Eighth World Orisha Conference. Santería_sentence_536

Various practitioners of Santería made visits to Nigeria to study traditional Yoruba religion there. Santería_sentence_537

The late twentieth century saw a growth in the yorubización ('Yorubization') of Santería, with attempts made to remove Roman Catholic elements from the religion and make it more closely resemble West African religion. Santería_sentence_538

This process was promoted at the International Workshop of Yoruba Culture, which was held in Cuba in 1992. Santería_sentence_539

Within Cuba, the Yorubization process was often attributed as reflecting the influence of practitioners in the United States. Santería_sentence_540

Cuban cultural nationalists were critical of the Yorubization process, viewing Santería's syncretism as a positive trait and arguing that advocates of Yorubization presented homogenous societies as superior to heterogenous ones. Santería_sentence_541

Many Santeros who opposed the reforms highlighted that even in West Africa, orisha-worship never foregrounded ideas of purity and exclusivity. Santería_sentence_542

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba, Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, also opposed the Yorubization process, believing that the Roman Catholic elements of Santería were a positive influence within the religion. Santería_sentence_543

The close of the twentieth century also saw adherents of Santería increasingly utilise the internet to promote the religion. Santería_sentence_544

Demographics Santería_section_24

Further information: Religion in Cuba Santería_sentence_545

Ascertaining the number of Santería practitioners is complicated by the fact that many individuals do not take part in its rituals but turn to its practitioners for assistance on matters of health and other practical issues. Santería_sentence_546

There are divergent opinions regarding how many people practice Afro-Cuban religions on the island. Santería_sentence_547

In the 1980s, the secretary-general of the Roman Catholic episcopate, Monsignor Carlos de Céspedes estimated that about 85 percent of Cubans practiced an Afro-Cuban religion. Santería_sentence_548

In 1991, the Cuban anthropologist López Valdés suggested that about 90 percent of Cuba's population practiced some form of religion and that of that 90 percent, a greater number practiced one of the Afro-Cuban religions than "pure Catholicism". Santería_sentence_549

In 2004, Wedel suggested that practitioners of Santería "greatly outnumber" those who practiced Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, or Judaism in Cuba. Santería_sentence_550

Estimates have been made that, as of the early 21st century, around 8% of Cubans might be initiates of the religion. Santería_sentence_551

Within Cuba, Santería is practiced in both rural and urban areas and has both Afro-Cuban and Euro-Cuban practitioners. Santería_sentence_552

On the island, Santería is practiced primarily in the north-west provinces of Havana and Matanzas. Santería_sentence_553

Emigration has also ensured that Santería is now also practiced across most of Latin America, the United States, and also in Europe. Santería_sentence_554

Through Cuban emigration to Mexico, Santería established a presence in Veracruz and Mexico City. Santería_sentence_555

Among Mexican practitioners, there is a perception that initiates trained in Cuba were more "authentic". Santería_sentence_556

Mexican practitioners have tried to keep in contact with their Cuban co-religionists via mail and phone. Santería_sentence_557

In various cases, initiates have been flown from Cuba to Mexico to perform specific rituals. Santería_sentence_558

Cuban emigration also led to Santería establishing a presence in Puerto Rico and in Spain. Santería_sentence_559

Santería was present in the U.S. by the 1940s; there are reports of people from the U.S. traveling to Cuba for initiation during the 1940s and 1950s. Santería_sentence_560

However, Santería established a larger presence in the United States during the 1960s as growing numbers of Cuban migrants moved there in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. Santería_sentence_561

There, it established a particular presence in Florida, California, New Jersey, and New York. Santería_sentence_562

In the U.S., it attracted converts from both the African American and Hispanic American communities. Santería_sentence_563

Samuel Gregory suggested that in the U.S., Santería practitioners were more visible than those of Haitian Vodou, in part due to the more insular nature of the Haitian diaspora in the country. Santería_sentence_564

He noted that in New York City, the various casas differed in their ethnic makeup, with some houses consisting largely or entirely of Cuban, Puerto Rican, or African American members, and others being highly multi-ethnic. Santería_sentence_565

One U.S. Santería group broke from the mainstream inclusive approaches to the religion by forming the American Yoruba Movement based in North Carolina, which does not accept white initiates. Santería_sentence_566

In the mid-1990s, Murphy suggested that there were hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. who had engaged in Santería in some form, often as clients. Santería_sentence_567

In 2001, there were an estimated 22,000 practitioners in the U.S. Santería_sentence_568

Drawing on his research in Cuba during the 1990s, Johan Wedel observed that Santería was "more common in working-class, low-income neighborhoods dominated by Afro-Cubans." Santería_sentence_569

Based on his ethnographic work in New York City during the 1980s, Gregory noted that he did not believe Santería could be seen as a "religion of the poor", observing a disproportionately high percentage of middle-class people such as teachers, social workers, and artists in the movement. Santería_sentence_570

Some practitioners grow up in the religion, as the child of initiates, although others only approach the religion as an adult. Santería_sentence_571

Reception Santería_section_25

By the late 1980s, Santería had received considerable interest from social scientists, health professionals, and established churches. Santería_sentence_572

Some santeros and santeras have noted that they mistrusted academic researchers, and were thus either vague or deliberately misleading in their answers to the latter's questions. Santería_sentence_573

The religion was also explored in other media; the Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando released the film Oggún in 1992. Santería_sentence_574

Various songs have also referenced Santería, in particular the names of various oricha; the successful Cuban American singer Celia Cruz for example recorded a version of "Que viva Chango" ("Long Live Chango"), while a popular Cuban band called themselves Los Orichas. Santería_sentence_575

Santería's influence can also be seen in the names of the popular Cuban liquor Santero and the state-owned machete factory Ogún. Santería_sentence_576

Santería has often faced opposition. Santería_sentence_577

Christian views of the religion have been largely negative, and in Cuba, there has been much opposition from the Roman Catholic clerical establishment over the centuries. Santería_sentence_578

When the International Afro-Caribbean Festival in Veracruz was launched in 1994, it showcased art and ritual by Mexican santeros, although this brought public protests from Catholic organisations, who regarded such rites as Satanic, and animal welfare groups who regarded the sacrifices as inhumane. Santería_sentence_579

The festival's organisers relented to the pressure, cutting the Santería elements of the festival by 1998. Santería_sentence_580

Various practitioners have also found that their involvement in Santería has strained their relationship with spouses or other family members who are not involved. Santería_sentence_581

Practitioners have also claimed that some santeros and santeras exploit other people financially, particularly those who are sick. Santería_sentence_582

See also Santería_section_26

Santería_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santería.