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What is Santeria?

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Priscilla Hernandez

on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of What is Santeria?

Santeria ~ 1000 to present day A Brief Timeline Of Santeria ~ 1000 ~1350 The Oyo kingdom is established by Oranmiyan who, according to tradition, was a son of Oddudúa [brother of Obatalá, an important orisha]. By the 1400 Oyo establishes a hegemony over the other Yoruba kingdoms which lasts through the 1800s. 1448 The Catholic Church provides its blessings to the Portuguese who begin to import slaves from African west coast, bringing the first African slaves to Europe and introducing Christianity to the region. By 1472, Portuguese traders Ruy Seqira and Fernando Gomez visit the Bight of Benin, trading their goods for slaves. Eventually, a slave-trade alliance with the kingdom of Benin is made, which continues to gain prominence with the introduction of European weapons. The Yoruba migrate to the western coast of Africa, to an area which will eventually be known as southern Nigeria. The Yoruba people begin to establish kingdoms, one in the savannah (northern Nigeria) and one in forest (southern Nigeria). The Yoruba sacred culture begins to develop at Ife, which serves as the seat of the Yoruba kingdom through the 1600s. Also, the city of Benin is established in the rain forest area of southern Nigeria. 1511 The first African slaves are brought to Cuba from the island of Hispaniola (present-day Haiti and Dominican Republic) to replace the decimated native population. These first African slaves brought the orishas with them to the island. ~1650- 1815 As the Benin kingdom wanes, the Oyo kingdom becomes a powerful military state thanks to its cavalry, funded with money from the slave trade. The Spanish Crown decrees the free trade of slaves in Cuba. The Atlantic slave trade becomes centered on the expanding sugar and coffee plantations of Cuba and Brazil. 1865 Last official slave ship docked in Cuba, although the practice unofficially continued until the mid-1880s when slavery was finally abolished. 1910 Black Cubans who fought for independence create El Partido Independiente de Color (The Independent Party of Color) to force the government to consider seriously its rhetoric of racial equality and provide equal opportunity in power, employment, and services. 1912 Cuban blacks' protest against structural racism is label a race war. Thousands of black Cubans, mostly unarmed, are deliberately butchered by white Cubans, mostly for "resisting arrest." Yet no trace of the rumored uprising has ever been found: no cache of arms was ever discovered, no demonstration occurred outside the province of Oriente, no white woman was ever raped or cannibalized (contrary to newspaper accounts), and no destruction of valuable property occurred. Even so, thousands of white Cuban volunteers were given arms and paid by the government to rove across the nation putting down the revolt in any way possible. One of many executions faced by the black Cubans. 1919 A brujo (witch doctor) craze sweeps Cuba as mass lynchings occur, fueled by rumors of Santeros and Santeras kidnapping white children in order to use their blood and entrails in religious practices. These reports begin to circulate after a white girl is found dead, presumably cannibalized by brujos. ~1940 The term Santeria begins to be used as a pejorative term by the Catholic clerics to describe the religious practices of the Yoruba in La Habana, Matanzas, and the surrounding areas. Persecution of Santeria in Cuba wanes. 1961 Merecedes Noble (who changes her name to Oban Yoko) is credited with ordaining the first Cuban santera in the United States, Julia Franco. Until now, Cubans wishing to be ordained had traveled to Cuba for the rites. Yoko went on to establish a casa de santo (house of saints) in New York City to serve as a permanent home for the ordination of devotees. 1980-1985 An increased interest in Santeria develops in Cuba due to the number of black Cuban soldiers returning from Angola. Persecution of Santeria wanes. 1987 Ernesto Pichardo opens the church La Iglesia Lukumi Babalú Ayé in Hialeah, Florida, the first Cuban-based Santeria church. 1992 The United States Supreme Court rules that the practitioners of Santeria have a constitutional right to sacrifice animals in connection with their rituals. What is Santería? Slave were brought to Cuba from Western Africa and forced to work on sugar plantation. They came from the Yoruba kingdom now known as Nigeria and Benin. The Yoruba slaves relied on their religion to survive the harsh conditions of the slave life. They also adapted other religious ideas such as Roman Catholicism, which was introduced to them by the Spaniards. Santeria, in other words, is a mix of religious ideas along with Yoruba traditions. The Many Gods Of Santería Santería is based on Yoruba costumes of interacting with deites (gods and goddesses) called orishas. Orishas act as representatives of Olodumare, who is the Supreme being who is removed from the human world and iteractions. Each orisha has special characteristics and responsibilities and is identified with certain parts of life and nature. Among the most important orishas are Eleggua, the childlike guardian of roads and travel; Ogun, the fierce but dependable god associated with iron, war, and work; Shango, the attractive ruler of fire, lightning, thunder, and dance; the motherly Yemaja, who oversees fertility, lakes, and seas; and Yemaja’s beautiful sister Oshun, who protects rivers, streams, and wealth. Eleggua was the first orisha created by Olodumare and he existed prior to and witnessed creation unfold. He is the key to any of our religious practices, without Eleggua’s blessings nothing can proceed, transpire nor succeed in the world. Eleggua is the owner of all roads, crossroads, and doors. He is the power that allows all of the ache in the universe to move from point A to point B. Ogun has the intelligence and creativity to invent tools, weapons, and technology. He is the father of civilization in many ways, for it is by his strength that the path from orun (heaven) to ayé (earth) was cleared so that humanity and the orishas could come to earth. Changó (Shangó) is the owner of fire, lightening, thunder, and war, but he is also the patron of music, drumming, and dancing. He represents male beauty and virility, passion and power. She is the mother of all living things, rules over motherhood and owns all the waters of the Earth. She gave birth to the stars, the moon, the sun and most of the orishas. Yemaya makes her residence in life-giving portion of the ocean. Oshun is the orisha of love, beauty, femininity and sensuality. Oshun represents all of the phases of a woman’s life. An Interesting Fact Santeria blends African beliefs with those of Roman Catholicism, it fuses Christian saints with African deities (orishas). Rites are led by a priest or priestess, and reincarnation is a main belief. One of its most important rituals involves animal sacrifice. Yoruba Archeologist believe that Yoruba ancestors settled in Southwest Nigeria around 350 BC and they specialized in iron smelting industries. Around 950 A.D a leader known as King Odudwa unified the Yoruba. Armed with iron weapons he expanded his rule to a city-state. City-states were connected thoroughly, rural areas were connected to urban areas, and vice versa. Bibliography Primary 1. website: http://santeriachurch.org/
2. book: Miguel A. De La Torre's Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America Secondary 3. website: http://www.worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar752985&st=orishas
4. website: http://web.ebscohost.com/hrc/detail?vid=4&sid=fba101ad-31c7-4262-aae3-7aef3f008e8f%40sessionmgr4&hid=23&bdata=JnNpdGU9aHJjLWxpdmU%3d#db=khh&AN=39030325
5. website: http://www.historystudycenter.com/search/displayMultiResultReferenceItem.do?Multi=yes&ResultsID=13E778AC907&fromPage=search&ItemNumber=4&QueryName=reference 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 5 4 The Yoruba Empire Beliefs and Practices Many Santerian beliefs are not freely discussed outside of the faith. In addition there are many religious leaders whose beliefs and practices differ significantly. The following is a general outline of what is known: Deities Ritual Sacrifices Possession Veneration
Ancestors The Blood of An Animal These form an integral part of many Santerian religious rituals. The animal's blood is collected and offered to the Orisha. Chickens are the most common animal used. Their sacrifice is believed to please the Saints, and to bring good luck, purification and forgiveness of sins. Rhythmic sounds and feverish dancing during Santerian rituals are believed to lead to possession of the individual by the particular Orisha being invoked. The individual then speaks and acts as the Orisha. Taking Over Guidance Ones ancestors, called Ara Orun (People of Heaven) are referred to for moral guidance and example. Their names are recited at family ceremonies. Ancestral spirits are one of the most important aspects to Santeria both in daily practice and in every ritual they perform.
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