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10 Characteristics of the Yoruba Religion Knowing our roots!

All about the Yoruba religion

The Santeria or Rule of Osha It is one of the majority religions in Cuba and was born from a syncretism between the Spanish traditions of the colonizers and that of the African slaves, called "Yoruba."

Currently the Lucumí language has been reserved for the religion of Santeria, therefore the vocabulary that has remained until today refers, for example, to its deities (Orishas), ceremonies, rituals or elements used in religious practices.

The phonetic inventory of the Lucumí language is quite similar to that of the Yoruba, its more conservative variants have the same seven vowels and a similar consonantal inventory.

And it is that knowing little by little everything about the Yoruba religion, our ancestors and their legacy, is a fundamental pillar to discover our idiosyncrasy.

Syncretism, the origin of the mixture that defines us

If we go back to history we understand that it was during the period of slavery, where religious syncretism played a fundamental role so that slaves could continue to practice their beliefs.

The cult that the Africans practiced was considered diabolical for their masters, the conquerors, and they were prohibited from practicing their religion, and only through the Catholic Saints, they were able to worship their gods.

What we know today is a syncretism, a mixture of various cults, which over time has merged, forming part of our idiosyncrasy and religiosity.

What is the Religion of the Orishas? All about the Yoruba religion

  1. La yoruba religion (in Yoruba, Òrìṣà-Ifá) refers to a series of beliefs and spiritual traditions originating from the Yoruba people, an ethnolinguistic group originating in West Africa (mainly in Nigeria and Benin).
  2. The historical processes of transmission of this tradition, which for decades was oral, has reached our days in the form of culture, customs, and religion.
  3. The Yoruba tradition and the legacy of worship to the Orishas, ​​as it is currently observed, is a safeguard of the intangible cultural heritage in the world.
  4. Throughout the African diaspora he has extended his influence outside of Africa in syncretic ways such as:
  • The Santeria or Rule of Osha in Cuba or
  • the Candomblé in Brazil.
  1. In Nigeria, on the other hand, traditional Yoruba festivals in honor of the Orishas are becoming increasingly important in religious and cultural tourism.
  2. Within the Yoruba religion, the divinatory system is sacred, it discovers the destiny of the religious and what inclination he has towards good or bad, that is, irè or osogbo and those cleansings or sacrifices that can be performed to balance destiny. .
  3. The Yoruba pantheon is where the deities of this ancient religion known as "Orishas" meet, which are also Forces of Nature united with universal wisdom.
  4. In the Yoruba pantheon, Obatalá is considered the oldest orisha of all, his deity refers to the beginning of the universe, the most neat, wise and powerful within the Yoruba pantheon.
  5. The religious beliefs of the Yorubas, their spiritual expressions and religiosity have been bequeathed to the populations of America as a result of slavery and mixing.
  6. According to Yoruba mythology, almost all the Orishas were kings of the Yoruba nation in life, great warriors and reformers of civilization who were later deified.

Pillars on which the traditional religion of the Yoruba is based

Regarding dogma and doctrine, his religious cult focuses on:

  • The belief in reincarnation,
  • the spiritual evolution of souls and
  • the final rest of the souls in Orun (plane or spiritual world).

Characteristics of the main Saints or Orishas of the Yoruba religion

The deities known as Orishas provide their devotees above all else with health, wisdom, protection, luck and success, and intercede for the religious in difficult moments on the path of life.

The most popular Orishas in Cuban Santeria are:

  • obbatala the father of all heads and owner of intelligence,
  • Shango the king and warrior of fire, dance and thunder,
  • Yemaya the womb of the world and the mother of all, goddess of the sea,
  • Oshun the queen of the river that shelters and sweetens the roads with her honey,
  • Eleggua the owner of the roads and the destiny of men,
  • Babalu Aye the master of sickness that goes with death,
  • Oggun the owner of iron, mountains and forced labor,
  • orula the soothsayer and interpreter of the sacred word of Ifá.
  • Oduduwa: mythical king founder of Ilè Ifè, orisha of creation.

Interest in African religious systems, their traditions, and culture continues to grow, therefore the religious communities that venerate and worship the Orishas continue to spread in America, but also in Europe and Asia.

Learn more about the Yoruba Religion and its powerful deities:

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