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Africa and its heritage: Afro-Cuban religion

Afro-Cuban religions

Cuba is a country of dissimilar beliefs, we Cubans are characterized by being people of faith, by believing and trusting in good times but above all in the most difficult, and it is the Afro-Cuban religion, one of the strengths when it comes to doing allusion to this Island.

Many of the rites that are practiced in Cuba are recognized as folk customs, because as our culture has from everywhere and our traditions are extremely different, our way of seeing religion is also diverse.

Cuban culture and its mixtures

The fact is that in this Caribbean Island it is so common to see religious festivals with African nuances, like observing a crowd of people attending a mass in a Catholic church. They all practice their beliefs in various religious institutions and organizations.

However, we must emphasize that, according to various investigations, Cuba today is mostly a Catholic country with the influence of Afro-Cuban beliefs. But on this island, much progress has been made today in terms of religion and we can say that faith is accepted and respected.

Afro-Cuban religions:

There are many, many touches of different ideologies and religions in various parts of the country.

However, if there is one thing that attracts attention, it is the Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies. And it is that even the process of the formation of different religions in Cuba is characterized by many scholars since its inception as a religious syncretism.

It is a mixture, like almost all Cuban traditions, of culture and belief, of African religions and Spanish Catholicism.

That is why the mix of Afro-Cuban religions is so striking, those rites and songs full of colors that adorn almost all places.

Examples of this are:

  • The Secret Society Abakúa
  • The Rule of Palo Monte
  • The Ocha-Ifá Complex
  • The crossed Spiritism.

The Abakúa Secret Society:

It is the first Afro-Cuban religion and is formed only by men. They are said to be heirs to the Leopard Men Society, from the Calabar region, on the African territory of Nigeria. Among its symbols is the sacred drum Ekue and the figure of the sacred fish Tanze.

The Palo Monte Rule:

Meanwhile, the Rule of Palo Monte has as its center the veneration of the ancestors and the Nkinsis, their gods. Their ceremonies are carried out around the nganga, a container that carries elements of mineral, animal and vegetable origin. They also have a divination system.


The Ocha-Ifá Complex is the best known religion, since it is made up of the Yoruba rites from Nigeria and Benin and also bears the name of Santeria because its followers identify the so-called Orishas with the Catholic saints.

 This belief also has divinatory systems and performs ceremonies according to the initiation levels of its practitioners.

Cross spiritism:

On the other hand, Cross Spiritism is included among Afro-Cuban religions due to the presence of African elements also in their celebrations. This belief includes divination rituals, communication with spirits and veneration of the soul and ancestors.

They are examples of beliefs that Cubans have adopted and the ceremonies of each one of them is a sample of Cuban culture.

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