Culture

Here Are Some Quick Facts You Should Know About Santeria

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If you grew up listening to Sublime’s “Santería” at high school dances or hanging out at block parties, odds are the song’s opening lyrics of “I don’t practice Santería, I ain’t got no crystal ball” might have been the first time you heard of the mystical cult. Santería is a religion that came to the Caribbean islands by way of Africans brought to the islands in the slave trade against their will. They blended their native religion with Catholicism, practiced by the Spanish conquistadors and colonizers to practice their beliefs without persecution.

Santería is a religion with West African roots and influenced by Roman Catholicism.

The religion has been around for centuries, since the first existence of slaves on the  Caribbean islands. African slaves brought their spiritual practices of Voodoo with them to the New World. However, under Spanish rule at the time, the slaves were not allowed to practice their own religion so they had to integrate Catholic saints to mask their religion. While Santería is the most common name but it isn’t the only one. Santería is the name used to reference the African/Caribbean religion in pop culture and the media. Practitioners prefer the other terms for the practice often referring to it as Regla de Ocha, La Regla de Ifá, or Lucumí.

Another important distinction to note is that it is not equal to brujería.

Santeros are known as priests and conduct the ceremonies, which often include drumming and dancing. There are no official buildings or meeting places for Santería. The religion and traditions often take place in homes, outdoors or in places rented or secured for the specific ceremony that will be taking place.

To understand the history of the Regla de Ocho is to go back and understand how the Yoruba people in Cuba.

who were mistakenly referred to as the Lucumí people (which one site mentions is perhaps this tribe referred to each other as Oluku Mi, meaning “my friend”), practiced both their traditional religious customs in parallel unison with the new Roman Catholicism religion practiced by the Spaniards at the time. The main pillars of this religion includes the worship of one god in three beings: Oludumare, Olofi, and Olorun, as well as the worship of Orichas, or santos. This shows the similarity between the Catholic religion of God having three forms: God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, as well as saints in Roman Catholicism. Some Catholic images, saints and practices are also mixed into the Regla de Ocho practices.

Santeros practiced in secret for hundreds of years to avoid religious persecution.

Santería has practitioners in the Carribean and across Latin America as followers brought these practices to other parts of the world, such as Brazil. However, the practices changed in variation from one country to the next. In recent years, it has been growing in U.S. cities with larger populations of African and Latin American immigrants. One such city is Miami, which has endured some odd cases of animal sacrifice in plain sight of its neighborhood residences.

The sacrifices are seen as offerings to the orichas and then eaten.

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The religion has been characterized by prejudice by people who see it as barbaric or voodoo (it is not voodoo, as the practices come from different tribes in Africa) and has also been at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case. A santero and college professor goes deeper into the practices’ history in a PBS documentary titled, Santería. In 2014, after the Lucumí faith won its religious freedom in the Supreme Court case, two of its largest priest organizations joined together in Miami to form one hierarchy and establish more visibility and awareness of the religion among its followers and outsiders.

The recent court case wins and development shows it is a young religion that is continuing to evolve and grow among its followers.


READ: These Santería Stories From Miami Took Sad And Dark Turns For Everyone Involved

Did you learn something new about this religious practice? Let us know in the comments below.

A Famous Catholic Priest In Brazil Was Shoved Off The Stage While Delivering A Homily On Live TV

Entertainment

A Famous Catholic Priest In Brazil Was Shoved Off The Stage While Delivering A Homily On Live TV

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In downtown São Paulo, July 14th’s Sunday service didn’t go quite as planned. The Canção Nova Community sponsored a youth conference and invited a celebrity priest to serve the final mass. Brazil’s most famous padre, Father Marcelo Rossi, was giving a homily in front of 50,000 worshippers when a woman suddenly pushed him off stage. The 32-year-old woman’s name has not been released, and she was immediately arrested. The priest is known for being vehemently homophobic and misogynist and had reportedly told the crowd that fat women don’t go to heaven before being pushed off the stage.

A woman pushed a homophobic and misogynistic priest off stage on live national television.

Apparently, the woman was able to sneak past security and get on stage in the middle of his homily. In a few seconds flat, she excitedly shoved the elderly priest off the stage. 

O Dia later reported that “She said that she wanted to come in to talk to him and that she was scared the moment she saw the security guards running after her. It’s her version, but anyone who sees the pictures sees that there is none of it [security guards running after her]. She says she got scared and pushed him at a time when she kind of freaked out, lost control, but she had no intention [of hurting him], she just wanted to talk to him.”

She could be seen smiling after the push, and immediately jumped off the stage.

Credit: Site Famosando / YouTube

Within a few minutes, the priest reportedly stood up and told the crowd, in Portuguese, that “the devil hates him” and “thanked Mary for deliverance.” There have been mixed reports about why she did it, along with mixed reactions.

The young audience watched in shock and then started to scream.

Credit: Site Famosando / YouTube

Minutes after the incident, the priest was back on stage to finish la misa. Almost immediately, President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted out his well wishes for Rossi, saying, “All our solidarity with Father Marcelo Rossi. God looks [over] Brazil.”

The woman told reporters Monday that what happened was “between [Rossi] and I.”

Credit: Site Famosando / YouTube

Her friends told police that she suffers from various mental disorders and that she was being chaperoned when she snuck away from the group. She told police that she has bipolar disorder. Rossi decided not to press charges given that he was protected by the Virgin Mary, and she was released that same night.

Brasileños everywhere were sharing their reactions–from horror to just pure laughter on social media. 

Credit: @rafaelqualquer / Twitter

Just so y’all know, Rossi is a Grammy-nominated “Latin singer,” and mega-producer of Christian music. He’s also a mega-homophobe. In 1998, he said, “A lot of ideas will change the day homosexuality is proven to be an illness.”

Given Rossi’s open, proud homophobia, some folks were applauding the woman’s actions.

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Just five years ago, he shared misinformation to his millions of followers, saying, “Sex between man causes pain, if something causes pain, it can’t be a good thing.”

We don’t know who said it first, but The Internet estaba chismosando for days about this version of the story.

Credit: @Its_SuNnYzzZ_77 / Twitter

Unfortunately, the reason this rumor started spreading is rooted in body-shaming the mentally unwell woman, and mother of a 3-year-old. While feminist outlets clung to this story and ran, fortunately, Rossi has never said that.

Catholics started clapping back to the chismosas by pointing out the flaws in the story.

Credit: @KorusBarnes / Twitter

Every version of the story we found says the priest said, “las gordas no van al cielo,” which wouldn’t make any sense. Rossi wouldn’t be speaking Spanish on a national broadcast when the vast majority of Brasileños speak Portuguese. This just didn’t happen, basta.

Others who feel spiritually traumatized by the Church felt that Rossi deserved the push.

Credit: @May_2112 / Twitter

Of course, plenty of people from all sexualities, religious belief systems or none at all, came out as unable to condone assault of any kind. They argue that you can believe the Church needs to change to include equal opportunities for women, to stop hating on the LGBTQ+ community, and to stop supporting a culture of pedophilia, and also believe that assault is unacceptable. 

The Church released a statement saying, “The priest is well.”

Credit: @crinternacional / Twitter

“He was attended by the medical staff at the event and presided over the celebration to the end.” Rossi himself said that he felt minor pain, but “that’s normal.” He didn’t break any bones, and will likely continue making religious pop and homophobic statements for a long, long time.

READ: Catholics Are Upset With Pope Francis For Donating Money To Help Migrants In Mexico

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

Culture

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

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With six years of celebrating Afro-Latinidad behind them, Afro-Latino Fest took to New York City for the seventh time running and it was better than ever. Latino Rebels and Futuro Media group partnered to create a social entrepreneur workshop, creating more much-needed access, and Afrolatin Talks launched their Podcast series to a live audience.

With live music, indoor and outdoor stages, and coalescence of uninterrupted culture-affirming celebration all weekend long, you can bet the whole event was like a POC dream come true.

In the last U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of all those claiming Afro-Latino heritage report living in New York City.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

So it makes sense that Afro-Latino Fest would go down in Brooklyn, where the bulk of the community already lives. In the last census, only 2.5 percent of all Latinos also identified as Black, which makes Brooklyn an especially special place.

Latin flags were held and celebrated showing the diversity of the Afro-Latino community.

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That’s just what you do at the Afro-Latino Fest. You don’t have to be afraid of someone coming up to you asking if you’re an American or be in fear to express cultural pride.

The music was next-level increíble.

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Internet community Black Owned Brooklyn couldn’t have described the event any better: “Celebrating all things Afrolatinidad — from music, dance and food to politics, philosophy and religion — the Afro-Latino Festival (@afrolatinofestivalnyc) returned to Brooklyn last weekend for its seventh edition. Run by husband-and-wife duo Amilcar Priestley and Mai-Elka Prado Gil (both from Brooklyn by way of Panama), the event started in 2013 as a small gathering at Flatbush’s Parkside Train Station Plaza to “affirm, celebrate and educate” around the contributions of people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. It has since evolved into a two-day festival, most recently at City Point in downtown Brooklyn, featuring music from eight countries across three stages. 🇵🇦 🇩🇴 🇵🇷 🇭🇹 🇭🇳 🇨🇺 🇨🇴 🇧🇷 ⠀”

There were chingona level DJ’s setting the party mood.

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These identical twins, Coco and Breezy, were just one set in a lineup of incredible performance artists like Puerto Rican spoken-word poet, Felipe Luciano, Dominican singer, José Alberto “El Canario,” Haitian-American singer Tadia and all-women Mariachi group Flor de Toloache. 

Afro-Latinos of all ages were able let loose a little bit.

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Every child was made to feel like royalty, with Afro-Latino owned vendors like “A Princess Like Me” in attendance. This was a family event.

Of course, there were bubbles for los niños.

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Who doesn’t love a good bubble machine?! Unlike the parties many of us went to as kids, there were actual children’s events to look forward to after rubbing the red lipstick off your face from all the tía besitos. Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with Elena of Avalor?

The festival was all about community.

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And representing your whole heritage with pride. With the festival in its seventh year running, some of the children knew each other from the year before and others made fast friends.

The festival empowered Afro-Latino vendors to empower young Afro-Latino niños to be themselves.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Caption: “Thank you @afrolatinofestivalnyc for booking us and giving OUR kids a place to freely run, play, dance and color with PRIDE! Our Latina Princess met amazing little Latina princesses too 👑👑👑🥰 where we hosted the entire kids zone at @citypointbklyn !!! Empowering our girls one princess & party character at a time. With live singing, makeup, nails, tattoos, dancing and more we bring the party to you! Ensuring your child has the best party possible for the lowest cost in NYC it’s no wonder we only have top ratings! Ps ask us about our customized characters and package options.”

We hope they get even more business after the festival’s long over.

It also empowered Afro-Latina‘s all over the place.

Credit: @bxmary80 / Instagram

“I am so excited! #laborinqueña #Brooklyn,” wrote this festival goer. She even got to meet the artist that created the highly anticipated “La Borinqueña” superhero comic, which celebrates a Black Puerto Rican woman as the protagonist.

At the end of the day, the event was all about family.

Credit: @cjrbarnes / Instagram

The young man in this photo expressed his gratitude for the event with a post on Instagram that read, “As the son of a 🇯🇲 [Jamaican] Immigrant and a 🇨🇺[Cuban] American, I’m blessed to be able to identity with both my Caribbean and African roots. @AfroLatinoFestivalNYC exemplifies all of the richness that Africa has on our beautiful Latinx counterparts—culture personified!🌍”

READ: From Maxwell To Cardi B, These Afro-Latinos Are A Driving Force In The Music Industry Today

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