The Cuban people live with faith and embracing religion in the Creole way, the results of mixtures, syncretism and transculturation. They pray to the saints and in his image they also render devotion to the Orishas of the Afro-Cuban culture.
Most revered saints in Cuba
Cuba is covered by a mantle of faith, some saints are venerated with great devotion, for their miracles, their protection and the mercy they profess. Devotees dedicate their promises to them so that they intercede on their way, including:
1. Saint Lazarus
San Lazaro is called the most miraculous of the saints and is one of the deities that receives the most attention from the Cuban population.
San Lázaro syncretizes in the Yoruba religion with the Orisha Babalú Ayé, since both images are venerated in Cuba.
And it is that San Lázaro Blessed, is the poor beggar represented as an old man who wears rags and uses a pair of crutches, with legs full of sores and surrounded by dogs and Babalú Ayé, is the orisha of the Yoruba religion healer of leprosy , smallpox, venereal diseases, skin diseases and, in general, pests and misery.
Thus, Cuba pays tribute to San Lázaro and Babalu Aye especially on December 17, in the Sanctuary located in El Rincón and in the Yoruba pantheon of each home. Cubans pray to both for cures, protection and general health.
And to both deities they make promises and carry offerings to the Sanctuary. Crowds of thousands of people dress in jute and sackcloth or purple and carry wheelbarrows full of offerings.
2. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is called the miraculous saint, giver of strength. She is syncretized in the Yoruba religion with Shango, Orisha of thunder, is one of the Yoruba deities most revered by Cubans.
They ask both of them for protection and help to get ahead and, above all, to overcome difficult situations.
On December 4, Cubans celebrate the day of both saints and tides of people dressed in red pay homage and beg for protection.
Many venerate them in their homes with an image or a personal altar and worship and ask for divine favor regarding health and daily well-being. They deliver offerings, light candles and carry the image of Santa Barbara on their shoulders in processions throughout the country.
On Santa Barbara Day, its devotees also go to the National Shrine dedicated to the saint, located in the Párraga neighborhood, in the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, a wave of faith arrives there, where they lovingly deliver the saint and the orisha, flowers, promises and they ask both for miracles.
3. Virgin of Charity of Copper
La Caridad del Cobre is also one of the saints most revered by Cubans. In the permanent religious syncretism in Cuba, the Virgin of Charity is also Oshún, Orisha of the Yoruba religion.
And to the different representations of the Saint, Cubans pay her devotion. Prayers to the Virgin are intended for love, health and prosperity.
Every September 8, Cubans celebrate the patron saint of this island, La Caridad del Cobre and the Orisha Oshun. A swarm of yellow garments and bouquets of sunflowers take to the streets that day to celebrate the one who has won the devotion and hearts of Cubans.
The prayers to the Patron Virgin of Cuba, are praise and supplication, asking for the protection of the also called "Virgen Cachita" and Mother Oshun against all evils.
4. Virgin of Regla
The Virgin of Regla arrived in Cuba in the legend of the deacon San Cipriano, who managed to save the image of the Virgin from the invasion of the Vandals, safely crossing the dangerous Strait of Gibraltar.
Thus, it was worshiped in the then Guaicanamar, currently the municipality of Regla, through an oil painting located in the first hermitage of guano built in that place.
The Virgin of Regla is a symbol of that capital town and a wall of protection against storms. Not a few stories are heard of Cuban sailors who have implored the virgin and have been saved by a miracle.
And it is that the Virgin of Regla syncretizes in the Yoruba Religion with the Orisha Yemaya, mistress of the sea and mother of all habitabefore the Earth.
To them, Cubans pay worship and devotion every day, especially on September 7 when they ask for protection and prosperity dressed in blue and loaded with offerings.
5. Virgin of the Mercedes
The Virgin of Las Mercedes is the patron saint of the prisoners, and in Afro-Cuban culture, it is syncretized with the Greater Orisha, Obatala in the Yoruba religion. Both deities are powerful, forgiving givers and peacekeepers, which is why both representations are worshiped with fervor and faith.
Obatalá is considered the strongest of the orishas, creator of the earth and sculptor of the human being, deity of thoughts and dreams.
Every September 24, Cubans celebrate the day of the Virgen de las Mercedes and also celebrate Obatalá. Cubans pray to the deities for peace and prosperity, they implore them for protection and, above all, health and freedom.