Hello CSI: Miami Maniacs! How are you doing? during the last few days, I have been collaborating with a good friend on a great topic for you. Pleased to introduce a wonderful article about Santeria, a religion mentioned in CSI: Miami episode “Curse of the coffin”, written by Reginald from Nigeria. Look below for some information about the author.
I am Engr. Reginald Onyeahialam, a Nigerian, an Agricultural and Bio-resources Engineer, a serial blogger, an entrepreneur. one of my new blog is The Page Magazine.
The religious tradition called Santeria
Every nation or society has its own identity, this identity or also known as culture is the art, customs, and habits that characterized a particular society or nations. it is this culture that differentiates a nation or society from another. There are millions of cultures in the world today, some are inborn why some are imported. Most imported traditions are as a result of migration from one nation to another while some are as a result of slavery. Today I am going to talk about an Afro-American religion of the Caribbean called Santería. So many people have heard about this tradition while few it is the first time they are coming across this culture. Santería as the name denotes, it is a Spanish name meaning “worship of saints”. It is an imported culture which came as a result of the slave trade that took place in Africa many years or centuries ago. It is a religious belief that combines that of the Yoruba religion brought to the new world by enslaved Yoruba people along with Christianity and the religions of the indigenous people of the Americans.
Santería developed in the Spanish empire among West African descendants. When these Yoruba people came to this new nation, they already had their cultures, they were new to Christianity which happened to be the white man religion, but because they didn’t want their religion to die like that hence they combined their own with that of the Caribbean. They carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifices and sacred drumming and dancing. The need to preserve this beautiful tradition of theirs in a hostile environment led those enslaved in Cuba starting from as early as 1515 to merge their customs with that of Roman Catholicism.
The Santería has so many beliefs which have been kept within themselves and Below I will be listing four of their major beliefs which has made them thus go this far in life.
- Ritual sacrifices: The Santería offers sacrifices to their gods and they strongly believe it will please the Saints and bring them good luck, purification, and forgiveness of sins. So this effect, they sacrifice a chicken and use the blood collected to offer to Orisha.
- Deities: God is referred to as Olorun or Olodumare, the Owner and creator of heaven and earth and of the lesser angels called Orisha. They also believe that the Orishas need food in the form of animal sacrifices and prepared dishes as well as human praises to function effectively.
- Veneration of Ancestors: this is a belief that takes places whenever there is a family ceremony where they call upon their ancestors to come and help them just like the Catholics call on Saints to intercede for them.
- Possession: Beautiful and rhythmic sounds and feverish dancing during the Santería rituals are believed to lead to the possession of one by the Saints been called upon after which the invoked begin to act and speak as it’s been directed by the Orisha been called upon.
Apart from their beliefs, they also have their practices which have kept them strong and going from one generation to another which includes secrecy, traditions, rituals priesthood, and botanicals.
In secrecy, they believe that the best way to keep their culture safe is to protect every information about them from reaching to the society at large unless you are a member. This was caused as a result of the way they were treated at the time of slavery. That period where they were not allowed to practice their traditions, that period where the white man criminalized their religion, that period they were forced to be baptized and worship a God their ancestors never worshipped. So as a result of this, there was a need for survival of their culture and to achieve this, hence they needed to keep everything secret from the public.
Priesthood; priests are called santeros or Babalochas. Priestesses are called santeras or iyalochas. The term Olorisha can refer to a priest or a priestess. They are giving training for many years teaching them more about the oral traditions of the faith. Which is followed by a period of solitude before being initiated. They learn to dance, songs, and healing methods.
Thank you for this amazing masterpiece of writing art, Reginald. I found that article very valuable and I reckon that the topic is worth to know. And what do think about this text itself or the topic in general? Have you ever met a Santería believer? Don’t hesitate to share your opinion in the comments. We will be glad to have a nice conversation.