La Santería and its various rituals are today a characteristic element in Cuba. On our island it is very normal to contemplate cults to the Orishas of African origin, both in santera ceremonies and in Catholic temples.
Even today a series of practices are carried out in which Yoruba cultural elements remain, which are officiated in a private house, which is also a dwelling, called house-temple o ile-osha, popularly known in religious jargon as "Casas de Santo".
What does Ilé-Osha mean?
The phrase ile-osha carries its meaning in two words, Ile which translates from the Yoruba “House” and OSHA refers to the Saint, the orisha, the cult of Santeria.
In Cuba particularly, it is a place full of syncretism and Cubanness, the same is venerated San Lázaro, Babalú Ayé, also the protective spirits and the Eggun, all our deities under the same roof.
In the ile-oshaHis authority is exercised by the owner, the most prestigious godfather by age and functions, of a number of godchildren, initiated in the "rule of Ocha", who are under his tutelage.
It can be a santero, or Babalawo and its Ile, all initiation practices and ceremonies are carried out. There are godchildren, uninitiated believers, and friends.
Ilé-Osha: the ceremonial temple
La saint's house o ile-osha it is a home, a temple, the space for worship and veneration of our deities.
It is that place where all religious come to ask for advice from the godfather, the godmother, the elderly, a place that shelters us, that protects us, the home that connects us from earth to heaven to speak with the Orishas who so much we love.
This temple must have everything necessary for the initiation ceremonies. There, acts of divination, sacrifices are performed, necklaces and other attributes are given, "touches of saints" and other rituals are carried out.
The habitations of the house are shared between the family's housing needs and those of worship.
On the altars there are Catholic saints syncretized with the Orishas that rule the house, and they will be adorned with flowers and offerings, ornaments, candles, and stamps.
The orishas will be in a hierarchical order, in the "basket" which is a kind of showcase or sacred showcase that shelters the venerated deities, inside the containers, spiritual elements and attributes that keep the secrets of our beautiful religion rest.
All these attributes identify the house of a santero, in addition to the spaces that fulfill a special function for each ritual, ceremony or party in honor of the Orishas.
In the room, for example, if a ceremony is to be held, you can find the chairs in which the drummers and guests will sit, in addition, it usually has a space for dancing, rumba and the sacred rites that are performed. .
Certainly in Cuba, many times the houses of Saints do not have many conditions in terms of space, but they have the blessing of an elder who is a treasure for his godchildren and other religious, and that is that a place becomes "a sacred temple" when he is sheltered by the faith and wisdom of his elders.
Defending "My house of Saint"
La saint's house is representative of the way in which the elder or priest conceives his religion, religious are often protected by the phrase: This is my house as a saint and things are done like this!
In Cuba, for example, in a ile-osha Cuban Santeria is practiced in the manner of the elder who represents the house and the disciples learn from its precepts, the rules, the prohibitions and in general the practices of the religion that are defended in the place.
This situation has fostered disputes between religious and bad practices that spread every day in our beautiful religion, but that really would be another topic to debate.
A sacred house for the Saints
The important thing is that the ile-oshaIt is a sacred space due to its ritual character and the faith that is deposited there, a place for religious brothers to help each other, with humility, love, always with the guidance and advice of our elders.
And it is that normally and contrary to Catholic cults, in Cuba the devotees of the Yoruba religion do not take their faith to temples, but the homes themselves are "sacred temples", so the saints will always be present next to their protected.