The Yoruba culture survives in Cuba
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- Editorial Articles
- culture an traditions
- Culture and Traditions
- 07 / 19 / 2008
Due to the abrupt change of environment from Africa to Cuba in the middle of horrific and humiliating conditions imposed by the slavery system the rich Yoruba civilization lost many of its values. However, thanks to the wonderful regular strategies to safeguard the most prized values they finally got to preserve their language, habits, music, oral literature, life’s morals and religion. This battle regarded as cultural cimarronaje (fugitive slave culture), religion brought about a tough cultural strength.
Several experts have considered the Santeria or Regla de Osha as a syncretic religion. Its old defenders were obliged to hide their religious beliefs during the slavery and the pseudo republic times. Those Yoruba men and women and their descendants disguised their deities under the aspect of catholic saints with similar characteristics to those of the orishas or Yoruba gods and they really were worshiping their African gods.
This religion as well as others from Africa was bothered by the authorities. Their ceremonies and celebrations were held in the mountains and some time the police seized the drums and other liturgical objects.
Many people thought that with the Cuban socialist government and the establishment of atheistic education based on the Marxist - Leninist philosophy that religion would collapse. Nevertheless, and due to the force and perseverance of the defense of those followers of this religion, its practice in Cuba is a real and regular fact and it is evident in the streets of the island where it was very common to see the initiates with their chains and white clothes.
Today, the Santeria or Regla de Osha has become a social and religious cultural complex whose African roots are unquestionable but at the same time they have been cross-cultured and they is already Cuban.