Our culture comes from African origin and originates when the slaves arrived in Cuba, in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a demand for labor in the coffee and sugar plantations of caña.
Much is said about syncretism, some agree and others do not, but I decide to talk about this issue because they have asked a lot.
Syncretism of the Orisha Oyá with Catholic Saints:
In Santeria many orishas have more than one syncretism, that is, they have been related to more than one Catholic saint, this depending on the cult in which it is venerated and where its adoration was born.
Example of it is the african goddess Oyá that its day is celebrated twice a year, because it is syncretized with:
- The Virgin of Candelaria on February 2 and
- Saint Teresa of Jesus on October 15.
This is a controversial issue, that's why I don't like to go into it, but I do it with all my respect towards those people who don't believe in syncretism, because everyone has a way of thinking and leading religion.
The syncretism process through history
The priests of those times of colonization in Cuba allowed black African slaves to form councils, but always linked to Catholic saints, perhaps they did so by pushing them to adopt the Catholic religion at some point.
The Lucumí paid dearly for their beliefs when they arrived forcibly brought from their lands and to somehow preserve their religious identity, they found it necessary to adopt strategies, such as seeking common characteristics in the Catholic Saints and their Orishas.
Hiding their roots they managed to preserve their identity ...
In Cuba the African religion was persecuted and as a result they were skilled and necessity forced them to cover up the Orishas behind the saints of their masters.
The Saints placed them in their houses on altars and behind them they hid the secrets of their Orishas, their deities and religion.
With the passage of time, in colonial times, blacks were in the eyes of the Catholic colonizers, but this was not the case, they danced to the beat of a drum under the cabildos blanket, and whites thought they danced in honor of the Saints and Virgins.
“We are the result of history, mixtures and ancestors”
The use of the word syncretism it refers itself to the result of the African slave religions merging with Catholicism.
My appreciation is that all religions have been influenced to a greater or lesser degree by others.
The Rule of Osha -Ifa It is not only based on the sacred act of sacrificing animals as offerings to the gods and dancing to the beat of the drums to attract the Orishas as it is believed, its cults and secrets are as immense as the universe.
Our Orishas are linked to all men on earth and to the elements of nature, in addition to the areas of our bodies, colors, and our senses.
According to the origin, the religious mixtures were born:
And although history always keeps indecipherable secrets, perhaps our ancestors, because we remember, here “He who does not have Congo has Carabalí”, as they came from different parts of Africa, some syncretized in Camagüey, for example, Oyá as Virgen de la Candelaria and in other places in Cuba they joined her to Santa Teresa de Jesús.
Let us remember that ethnic groups arose in our country and their religion was expressed through their beliefs, for example, of origin:
- Yoruba: the Rule of Osha or Santeria,
- Bantu: the Rule of Palo Monte,
- Dahomeyano: the Rule Arará in Matanzas.
Said the great anthropologist and discoverer Fernando Ortiz:
“Crowds of blacks came with a multitude of origins, races, languages, cultures, classes, sexes and ages. There was no human element in a deeper and more continuous transmigration of environments, culture, classes and consciences. "
Above all, we must promote respect among religious
As a religious they taught me syncretism and it will remain that way for me, but I am convinced of something and that is that I love and respect my religion.
So I also ask for respect for my beliefs as I respect that of others.
I end with some statements by Calixta Morales (Odde Dei) in an interview with Lydia Cabrera in 1954 and said:
“The Saints are the same here and in Africa. The same with different names. The only difference is that ours eat a lot and have to dance, and yours are content with incense and oil, and don't dance."