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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Maferefun Eshu Eleguá

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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.

Celebrate El Día De La Virgen De Guadalupe At Any Of These Churches Across The Country

Culture

Celebrate El Día De La Virgen De Guadalupe At Any Of These Churches Across The Country

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For almost 500 years, Roman Catholics around the world have been celebrating Dec. 12 as the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe—the day on which the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in the hills of Tepeyac , Mexico. Although the apparition of the Virgin Mary is said to have been shown to Juan Diego four times, the final time was on December 12, 1531.

The festivities at churches around the country in the U.S. start celebrating ‘La Patrona de Mexico’ on Tuesday, December 11, with some putting on a colorful procession a full half day before midnight on December 12.

The holiday is something many Catholics hold near and dear to their hearts.

The decorations honoring La Virgen de Guadalupe are as beautiful as the reason for the day of celebration.

If you decided to sleep in this morning and skipped midnight mass, here are some places where you can still attend mass while getting a belly full of tamales:

Los Angeles – Plaza Mexico

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#PlazaMexicoLynwood #VirgenDeGuadalupe #Mañanitas

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With Los Angeles having the largest Mexican-American population in the country, you’ll easily find multiple misas to choose from, extending across East LA down to Lynwood.

If you want to treat your mom to some champurrado because you made her late for midnight mass, make it up by heading to Plaza Mexico in Lynwood where a beautiful large mural of La Virgencita is displayed. There you can place flowers if you can’t make the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. mass.

Los Angeles – Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels

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Las Mañanitas ⛪️🌹🌺🇲🇽! #Guadalupe

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In downtown LA? You can start your day off with a 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. mass if you’re near the Cathedral of our Angels, or if you prefer to wait to go to mass in the evening, Aztec dancers will be performing at 6:30 p.m. with mass honoring the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 7 p.m.

Chicago – Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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When you have a shrine named after La Virgencita, you know you need to make room for hundreds of worshippers on both Dec. 11 and 12.

Pilgrims from around Chicago and the Midwest travel to Des Plaines, Illinois to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe to pray and sing ‘Las Mañanitas’. In addition to midnight mass, pilgrims can pray at masses spaced throughout the day until 7 p.m. at night.

Miami – Our Lady of Guadalupe

Miami’s Mexican community is small, but mighty—and when it comes to celebrating el Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, they go big.

From midnight until 7 p.m. on December 12, the church will host multiple masses with live mariachis to sing traditional songs to get the party started for the birthday girl, La Virgencita.

New York  – Church of Saint Agnes

You know your mom, abuela and tia are going to want to head to misa as soon as work ends.

Join them at the Church of Saint Agnes in midtown Manhattan for live mariachi before and after the mass for La Virgen de Guadalupe on Dec. 12. Mass begins at 6 p.m.


READ: People Across The Internet Are Sharing Their Celebrations For La Virgen De Guadalupe

Are you going to be celebrating el Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe this year? Let us know in the comments and share this article with your friends!

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