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Did you know that Corn in Santeria rituals is sacred?

Corn in Santeria

The corn It constitutes the essential food of many peoples, with which they make the most important dishes for daily nutrition, not only for its nutritional qualities, but also for its medicinal and healing properties.

It is a food that has starch, sugars and numerous minerals that help our body to cope with ailments and stay healthy.

This has been the case since ancient times, and numerous fundamentally American cultures have given corn a predominant place not only on the table, but in daily life and spirituality.

Corn was sacred to many of the habitabefore South America and therefore figured in the religious pantheon of the main pre-Columbian cultures. The Mayans, for example, were devoted to a corn god, who is always represented as a young man with an ear of corn as an ornament on his head, and so were the Incas and Aztecs.

We can say that most ancient American cultures showed their appreciation for a crop essential for food and human health, thus giving it a prominent place in the history of the continent and in spirituality.

Corn in the Cuban transculturation process

Corn in Santeria and its uses

And in Cuba, the Tainos also cultivated this important food before the Spanish conquest and colonization. And later, the African slaves made it theirs when they arrived on the island, since corn was one of the daily foods that the slave owners provided them.

Africans gave it so much importance that corn was part of the transculturation process that promoted the formation of Cuban nationality. They considered it a spiritual element and an indispensable component in their religious ceremonies and rites.

Santeria and corn as an ancestral element

The magical character of corn was fundamentally reflected in the Rule Ocha or Santeria, one of the religious expressions of African origin with the largest number of followers in Cuba.

Corn in Santeria is used in various religious cults, occupying a sacred place in this religion, for example:

  • It is used to pay the "rights" to the Orishas as equivalent to money, for example to enter sacred sites in the religious world such as the cemetery or the mountain.
  • It is used in offerings, baths, purifications and ebbĂł dedicated to the deities for the development of the religious.
  • It is part of many of the religious ceremonies, among them those that are performed to the initiate (IyawĂł) in the rule of Osha.

And although it is offered and used in different variants, roasted corn (awado) is an essential element of cleansing and purification for religious, widely used and essential in many rituals.

The influence of corn on Yoruba ceremonies

Corn spiritual meaning

In African religious expressions, the traditional names for maize are agguáddo, abáddo and oká.

In the Yoruba religion, corn belongs to all the saints and therefore it is used in many of the religious ceremonies, but in each ritual it has a special meaning.

Corn attracts happiness, provides development and prosperity and therefore is present in numerous addimĂşs (offerings) to ask the saints for some of these blessings.

This plant is usually awarded to Elegguá, Babalú-Ayé, Shangó and Oricha Oko, although as we explained, it can appear in the offerings of any Orisha. The sacred corn is offered to the saint when he indicates it either in ebbó (cleaning) or in addimú (offering).

For example to the Goddess of Love, OshunHe likes foods with sweet corn flour and is often treated to this appetizing delicacy, which is also very popular at saint's birthday parties.

Corn and its role in Yoruba initiation

The ceremonies of initiation or Seat in the Rule Ocha, is one of the most important for the life of the believer, since he receives the saint who will guide him and help him in all the decisions of his life.

And corn occupies a preponderant place in these ceremonies, especially in the entrance ebbĂł that has toasted corn and ekĂł (tamale) among its components.

Also, the initial prayer of the head carries the roasted grain, and is done with the aim that the devotee cleanses himself of bad vibes when receiving his patron saint.

Equally very important in the achĂ© of the seat is the corn, in this case roasted, especially to receive the Warrior Orishas, Elegguá, OggĂşn, Ochosi and OsĂşn. 

And the corn not only accompaniesaña to the religious since its inception, but is also present on the final journey and in the preparations for the Ituto ceremony, a funeral rite performed to say goodbye to the deceased santero.

A sowing for abundance in the name of OshĂşn

Sowing corn for OshĂşn

Among the many rituals and works dedicated to the orishas, ​​this planting dedicated to the Goddess of love is very powerful and effective, always with great faith to achieve excellent results.

  1. To prepare a corn planting dedicated to Mother OshĂşn, you first place a bit of cotton on a white plate, and on top of it 25 grains of corn.
  2. You sprinkle a little water on it and on the edges you will place 25 sticks of cinnamon stick and a little honey.
  3. You put this work in front of the Orisha and if you are not crowned you can place it in a clean and pleasant place.

You must take care of this corn planting as if it were a plant, it must always be humid so that it allows its growth, as well as it grows it will have abundance and development.

If the plant does not occur, you can repeat the work, and if it grows prosperously, every day thank OshĂşn for the abundance that comes into your life.

Learn more about Santeria and its sacred elements:

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