Santeria. Santería (Spanish pronunciation, also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla Lucumí, or Lucumí, is

an African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba during the late 19th century. It arose through a

process of syncretism between the traditional Yoruba religion of West Africa, the Roman Catholic form

of Christianity, and Spiritism. There is no central authority in control of Santería and much diversity exists among

practitioners, who are known as creyentes (“believers”). Santería is polytheistic and revolves around deities

called oricha.

Catholic saints. Each human is believed to have a personal link to a particular oricha who influences their personality.

be manipulated through ritual actions. Practitioners venerate theoricha at altars, either in the home or in the casa.

What are the beliefs of Santeria?|What is the purpose of Santeria?|Who is the God of Santeria?|

The term Santería translates into English as the “way of the saints”. This term was first used by

scholarly commentators in the 1930s and later spread among the religion’s practitioners themselves. It has

become the most popular name for the religion, although some practitioners find it offensive. A common alternative

is Regla deOcha, meaning “the rule of chacha being a term for the religion’s deities. Some adherents

regard this as the religion’s “official” name. The tradition has also been called Lucuma, about the colonial

Spanish term for the Yoruba people, or La Religión Lucumí (“the Lucuma religion”) or Regla

Lucumí (“the rule of Lucumí”.Santería is an Afro-Caribbean religion, and more specifically an Afro-

Cuban religion.

the Yoruba, between the 16th and 19th centuries. In Cuba, these religions mixed with the Roman

Catholicism was introduced by Spanish colonialists. Roman Catholic saints were conflated with West African deities,

while enslaved Africans adopted Roman Catholic rituals and sacramentals. In the 19th century, elements

from Spiritism—a French variant of Spiritualism—were drawn into the mix, with Santeria emerging as a distinct.

Santeria is a flexible and eclectic tradition, with considerable variation in how it is practiced. There is no strict

orthodoxy, no key sacred text, and no central authority in control of the entire religion. It has absorbed

elements from many cultures that it has encountered, such as that of the Chinese migrants who came to Cuba in

the 19th century, while in continental North America, has also incorporated influences from Central

American and Mexican religions as well as from New Age and modern Pagan practices. As well as it being

common for Cubans to idiosyncratically blend ideas from different religions, many of Santería’s practitioners claim

multiple religious allegiances. Santería’s adherents often consider themselves to be Roman Catholics—some

priests and priestesses of Santería refuse to initiate anyone who is not a baptized Roman Catholic—and others

consider themselves to be Spiritists, Hindus, Vodouists, or Jews.


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