This is how the Bible relates:
"And Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered a burnt offering on the altar."
So, we see that the Christian religion determines the altar of worship as:
- The meeting point with God that does not necessarily have to be a material element, but can be our own heart.
Biblically the altar means: something tall, house, offering, sacrifice or sanctuary.
However, the term altar of worship is used by numerous religions and religious expressions to determine:
- That place, which can be a humble corner or a building covered in gold, in which we communicate with our spiritual guides and offer them our faith, our offerings and our love.
What do the altars mean? A space to communicate with the deities
In ancient times, altars of stones, earth, bronze among other materials were used and these were not "chosen" by the priests, but were specifically requested by the deities.
Where the saint or gods indicated the place, an altar was built so that the faithful could worship it.
Altars are not something exclusive to any religion, because as we explained, they have been used throughout the centuries in order to venerate a specific deity.
In this way, it can be said for example that:
- The followers of Christ make adoration altars with his image usually represented on the crucifix, and on them they put candles and flowers.
- Likewise, Catholics do with the different saints of the Catholic Church.
- The Buddhists for their part, placed altars mainly to honor ancestors, and on them they put offerings of food and drinks, as well as incense of various aromas.
The Yoruba worship altars in Santeria
Yoruba worship altars are also used to communicate and honor the various Orishas and Egguns of the Yoruba pantheon, so these elements have defining characteristics associated with the qualities of African deities.
In the Afro-Cuban religion Product of the syncretism between the Orishas and Catholic Saints, they are generally venerated on the same altar, where deities and faith are mixed.
These altars are often simple places placed in corners in the home of the religious, where they are placed:
- images and
- elements related to the characteristics of each deity such as colors and preferred offerings.
And so in a show of faith, love and veneration at the foot of the altars, candles, flowers and offerings of all kinds are placed, associated as we explained, to the preferences of the Orisha or Saint.