Afro-Cuban Religions – Discover Western and Central Cuba. – A Tour Teeming with Unesco Heritage Sites, History, Architecture, Art, Music, Afro-Cuban Religion and Local Flavor!
Santeria (Way of the Saints) is an Afro-Caribbean religion based on Yoruba beliefs and traditions, with some Roman Catholic elements added. The religion is also known as La Regla Lucumi and the Rule of Osha. Santeria is a syncretic religion that grew out of the slave trade in Cuba.
Afro-Cubans are Cubans who are of Black African ancestry, mostly West African. The term Afro-Cuban can also refer to historical or cultural elements in Cuba thought to emanate from this community and the combining of native African and other cultural elements found in Cuban society such as race, religion, music, language, the arts and class culture.
Out of 11.2 million Cubans, 1 million Cubans described themselves as Afro-Cuban or Black, while 3 million considered themselves to be «mulatto» or «mestizo». Thus a significant proportion of those living on the island affirm some African ancestry. The matter is further complicated by the fact that a fair number of people still locate their origins in specific native African ethnic groups or regions, particularly the Yoruba (or Lucumií), Akan, Arara and Kongo but also Lgbo, Carabali, Mandingo, KIssi, Fula, Makua and others.
Although Afro-Cubans can be found throughout Cuba, Eastern Cuba has a higher concentration of Afro-Cubans than other parts of the island and Havana has the largest population of Afro-Cubans of any city in Cuba Recently, many native African immigrants have been coming to Cuba, especially from Angola. Also, immigrants from Jamaica and Hati have been settling in Cuba, most of whom settle in the eastern part of the island, due to its proximity to their home countries, further contributing to the already high percentage of blacks on that side of the island.
Santeria icons at an open place of worship in Havana. Santería is a syncretism practiced by many Afro-Cubans
Afro-Cuban religion can be broken down into three main currents: Santeria, Palo Monte and Abakua and include individuals of all origins. Santería is syncretized with Roman Catholicism.
The Abakuá religion is a secret society for men, similar to the freemason orders of Europe. It has not been syncretized with Roman Catholicism and remains close to its origins in southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon, from the Ekpe society of the Efik people of Cross River State and nearby areas.