A Santería ceremony known as Cajón de Muertos. Havana, Cuba, 2011.
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Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla de
Santería is a system of beliefs that merges aspects of
This religious tradition evolved into what is now recognized as Santería.
The colonial period from the standpoint of enslaved African people can be defined as a time of perseverance. Their world quickly changed. Tribal kings and their families, politicians, business and community leaders all were enslaved and taken to a foreign region of the world. Religious leaders, their relatives and their followers were no longer free people to worship as they saw fit. Colonial laws criminalized their religion. They were forced to become baptized and worship a god their ancestors had not known who was surrounded by a pantheon of saints. The early concerns during this period seem to have necessitated a need for individual survival under harsh plantation conditions. A sense of hope was sustaining the internal essence of what today is called Santería, a misnomer (and former pejorative) for the indigenous religion of the Lukumi people of Nigeria. In the heart of their homeland, they had a complex political and social order. They were a sedentary hoe farming cultural group with specialized labor. Their religion, based on the worship of nature, was renamed and documented by their slave owners. Santería, a pejorative term that characterizes deviant Catholic forms of worshiping saints, has become a common name for the religion. The term santero(a) is used to describe a priest or priestess replacing the traditional term Olorisha as an extension of the deities. The orishas became known as the saints in image of the Catholic pantheon.— Ernesto Pichardo, CLBA, Santería in Contemporary Cuba: The individual life and condition of the priesthood
In order to preserve and shield (mask) their traditional beliefs, the
The historical veiling of the relationship between Catholic saints and Orichás is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, are also Roman Catholics, have been
The spread of Santería beyond the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean, including to the United States, was catalyzed by the