Cuba, religiously, is a very diverse country. Its greatest inﬂuence, like most Latin American countries, is the Catholic religion with 60% while 11% is inﬂuenced by Africa, and from there comes Santeria, Mayombe stick, etc.This inﬂuence comes from the 1800s, where the greatest number of slaves arrived in Cuba from Africa. But, as you may know, the slaves when they arrived in Cuba, did not let them practice their religion and had to force themselves to be practitioners of the Catholic religion, as their only religion.
Likewise, they began to change the names of the saints of religion, the virgins for saints, for example.This is how Santeria or the Rule of Ocha is inﬂuenced, as it is also known. Of origin, he is a polytheist, each one is born with a saint like Eleggua, Obatala,Temaya, etc. and this one has to be honored by sacriﬁces, for example playing his musical instrument, or the greatest of all, devoting himself to the saint.
The Cubans who practice Santeria are mostly Afro-Cubans; which as we mentioned before, are origins of slaves brought from Africa. His belief is based on a universal God who was commissioned to create everything we see today.This God is called Olodumare.
He is the person who is beginning in Santeria, his ﬁrst task is to memorize the 256 Odus, they are the sacred writings, and also the verses of Ifá. He becomes a teacher, and is dedicated to being a spiritual guide, helping people solve problems, leading them along the spiritual path.
It is the beginning of the cleansing, and “becoming holy” means putting the angel on the head and facing the responsibility it requires.The person who is made holy is called “iyawó“, this title is given for the ﬁrst year.This must be followed by an Orisha, who is a guardian prior to the act.This ﬁrst year is a year where many strict rules have to be followed in order to be puriﬁed, and at the end of the year it is called “santero”.
To begin, it is an intensive process, which lasts 7 days, where the name of the saint and itá is reborn.The ceremony is directed by Obá Ení Oriaté, who is a santero with a lot of experience and knowledge.Then a godfather does a head cleaning with herbs.Then comes the acquisition of beaded necklaces, which colors depend on the saint of the person, this necklace is bathed in blood, herbs, etc.To receive it, he leans in a bathtub to wash his head.
Then comes the half seat, which is a consultation with a santero where a review of the life of the iyawó is given, this gives inspiration to a sculpture that they have to build to protect the house. Reception of the warriors, here they receive sacred objects from their godparents.Among other rituals, there is also Ebbón’s ceremony, which consists of