Skip to content

Do you know how the mixture of African Religions was born in Cuba?

African religions in Cuba

For the roots of the Cuban people, Africa represents a vital element present in all spheres, from religion and culture to gastronomy and tradition.

Cuban history reflects that, due to the slave process, many Africans were forced to emigrate to Cuba in colonial times.

But upon arrival, they maintained the cult of their gods, and also their customs and traditions that were building a powerful legacy that lasts today.

On the Island, African traditions joined other elements, in a process known as transculturation, which in the long run gave rise to various religious systems in which the religious beliefs and practices of the island were mixed.Yoruba culture and Catholicism.

Liturgical bodies emerged from religious syncretism such as:

Elements of Santeria
  • The Rule of Ocha or Santeria
  • The Rule of Palo or mayombe, from the Congo and Angola
  • The secret society Abakuá, from Nigeria

Each of these religious expressions mixed their cult and adapted it to the Cuban form, uniting language and social and religious practices and giving rise to a strong cultural exchange between different practices.

Then there was a Cuba fused between numerous beliefs:

Religions of African origin:

  • Conga Rule or Palo Monte Rule
  • The Rule of Ocha or Santeria
  • Voodoo.
  • Abakuá Society

Religions of European origin:

  • Spiritism
  • The Catholicism
  • The Christianity

How did the African cult resist in the history? Roots of rebellion and faith

African diaspora forced labor

The African slaves took advantage of the Catholic habits of their masters and joined their cults to the figures of that religion in order to continue practicing them.

Thus they managed to maintain their festivals, their music and their displays of faith when summoning the ancestral deities, resisting the imposition of a different religion.

By the 1880s and 1900s, African religious expressions stood out in the already crystallized Cuban society through figures such as Andrés Facundo Cristo de los Dolores Petit, founder of the Kimbisa Rule, Lorenzo (or Ciriaco) Samá and Adyai Latuán, who contributed to unite African beliefs with Catholic and spiritualists, and spread them among the people of the Island.

However, during the neocolonial republic, Afro-Cuban and spiritualist practices were discriminated against and carried into the secret practice of their cults.

The important legacy that we live today ...

But in recent decades, African religious expressions are valued as an essential part of Cuban roots and a representative element of culture and religion.

Thousands of Cubans practice them and show devotion to their gods publicly and surrounded by respect and acceptance.

Today we can enjoy that value that African religious practices have incorporated into Cuban society in places such as the Casa de África and the museums of Regla and Guanabacoa, as well as the headquarters of the Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba.

Learn more about Afro-Cuban religion:

Most read content:

send this message
Hello, I need to consult me. Can you send me the information and the price of the Spiritual Consultations guided by an Espiritista Santera? Thank you. Ashe 🙏