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Roasted Corn ≫ Sacred ritual element in Cuban Santeria

Santeria roasted corn

The food use of corn transcends thousands of years. There are many who highlight the intense flavor and the specific properties of this food in its many recipes.

In different cultures, numerous recipes and delicious dishes made from corn have passed from generation to generation, such as: toasted, sweet corn, corn flour, canguil, mote, chuchuca, mazamorras, tortillas, candy etc. In Cuba by tradition we also consume this delicious food.

It has also constituted in many religions a sacred element where it represents prosperity and abundance.

Its healing properties

In addition to the nutritional properties of this food, corn itself has excellent medicinal effects that help our body to rid itself of toxins. When we roast it, its properties are maintained, including:

  • as a vigorous diuretic
  • for the treatment of kidney problems
  • treat poisonings
  • relieve colic

Spirituality and Santeria: Roasted Corn

In the Rule of Osha (Santeria) this food also plays a fundamental role, it symbolizes a ritual element used in many ceremonies, offerings and works.

Although corn is the plant that belongs to all Orishas of the Yoruba pantheonThe fact is that it is offered in addimús (offerings) and rituals in different ways, it is a sacred element widely used when asking for help in matters of prosperity and development, especially.

Roasted corn kernels are the fundamental choice of Eleggua, Oggun y oshosi, members of the group of Warrior Orishas, ​​the first to be received by an individual in the Regla de la Ocha.

Also, with toasted corn, water, sour orange and molassesaña Shekete or soft drink is prepared that is traditionally offered with popcorn or ekó (tamale) in the saint festivities.

Roasted corn at initiation ceremonies

Roasted corn (awado) is an element of cleansing and purification for the devotees of the Rule of the Ocha.

Therefore, it occupies an important place in the Initiation or Seat ceremony, that moment in which the initiate, Yawó or Iyawó begins his life as a member of his new saint family.

The ebbó (cleaning) at the beginning of this ritual includes toasted corn and ekó, as well as the initial prayer of the head, in order to cleanse the believer so that he can receive his Guardian Angel.

Roasted corn for Eleguá:

Roasted corn also occupies an important place in the realization of the foundations of the deities, especially, as we explained, to the Warriors Elegguá, Oggún, and Ochosi, who are treated to roasted beans.

On the last day of the 7 days of the initiation ritual, the believer must pay tribute, among others, to the one who opens the roads, Elegguá, in a Plaza.

For this, on the seventh day, the Iyawó will be cleaned at the foot of the Orisha with 3 or 4 packets prepared with Ekú (smoked jutía), Eyá (smoked fish), Epó (corojo butter), Awado, Otí (brandy) and Oñi (honey) , with the aim that the Orisha help you achieve spiritual growth, personal fulfillment and guide you on the path of religion.

The Iyawó goes to the square with his Iyobona to walk around the outside and in each corner must throw a package that is to feed Eshu who lives in the market and render moforibale to Oyá, owner of the market.

Roasted corn is also an important element in the Ituto or Appeasement ceremony. This is a funeral rite that is performed on the believer who has passed away.

In order to "refresh" it, a jícara is prepared that accompaniesañará to the deceased, inside which several ingredients are placed, including toasted corn.

How is corn roasted for use in works and rituals?

Making Santeria Roasted Corn
Homemade Roasted Corn

To prepare roasted corn to have at home and use it in a ritual, we just have to follow the following recipe:

Corn can be roasted without añatell you no additional ingredients, just keep in mind that it must be the corn that is “not” used to make “rositas de corn” or canguil as it is called in other countries.  

In a saucepan, large enough, we place the grains and we will stir them, preferably with a wooden spatula, until we see that the grain has toasted and has taken on a medium golden color or a dark brown color.

When cool you can keep it at home for when you need to use it in offerings, rituals, and attentions to the Orishas.

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