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 Cuba's SANTEROS. Vodouwizan Kiben.

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MessageSujet: Cuba's SANTEROS. Vodouwizan Kiben.   Sam 29 Nov 2008 - 2:03

Cuba's SANTEROS


By JUAN ALMEIDA BOSQUE
Major of the Cuban Revolution and Vice-President of the Council of State
Photos by Isaac Saney, 1994


WALKING down Prado Promenade one Sunday afternoon in February, I saw a man and two women coming towards me. He was of mixed parentage, one of the women was white and the other black, and they were all dressed in white, the women wearing turbans, multi-coloured bead necklaces, fringed shawls covering their shoulders and backs, with itde bracelets around their wrists and white socks and shoes.

"So what are these," asked the young, slim, beautiful woman who accompanied me, "santeros or ñáñigos?"

"They are santeros who have been recently initiated, iyawó as they say. Ñáñigos are something else. I'll explain, but I'll have to go back in time a bit, almost to the arrival of slaves in Cuba."

Runaways

We passed the three, looked at them out of the corner of our eyes and then from the back as they walked away. She was comparing her beauty with that of the two women and I think she was satisfied. I started to explain:

"During the times of slavery, many treated the Africans as a submissive people, incapable of rebellion. However, their ideal was to flee, as this represented freedom for them, their freedom, even if it was temporary and involved a lot of sacrifice. The slaves went into the woods and became runaways and this was how they first stood up to the Spaniards.

Later they would do it again in the fight for independence.

Cuban history has seen many slave insurrections: the one in 1731 in El Cobre, Oriente province; conspiracies such as that of Aponte in Havana, in 1812 and La Escalera in Matanzas, in 1843.

The father of the nation, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, freed his slaves on the Demajagua sugar plantation in Manzanillo, Oriente, in 1868.

The women were as brave in these uprisings as the men.

When African slaves were brought to Cuba, they felt the need to communicate, to form groups, because by uniting they felt less vulnerable and through this union, based on their beliefs and traditions, they shared their ideals and feelings of rebellion.
This is how they organized brotherhoods which led to the rise of black lodges authorized by the Spanish colonial government and religious mutual aid societies.

Through their traditional religious practices they retained their beliefs, customs, rites and language.

The lodges were first established in Havana but after being persecuted by the authorities, they were transferred to the outskirts of the capital and other parts of the country. When slavery was abolished, the lodges began to decline, although many of their descendants maintained their traditions.

African deities and Spanish Catholicism

A Shango shrine. Shango is the Yoruba God of Thunder, i.e., a symbol of power. The Yoruba are an ancient West African people who are predominantly located in present-day Nigeria

One of the religions practised by the slaves was Yoruba, now known as Santería, brought by the Lucumí.
They are the ones that just passed us.

This religion is a mixture of the cult of Yoruba orishas, African deities, with elements of Spanish Catholicism, which places a lot of importance on the worship of saints, and elements of spiritualism.

Now the ñáñigos are the Abacuá, a secret mutual aid society which was spread by the Carabalí. Membership requisites are: to be male, a faithful son and good friend. The concept of man is central for them, to be a man one has to look very masculine.

They know what they should and should not tolerate to be considered a man. They are very rigorous in their sexual relations with women.


They have a series of criteria about how they should behave socially. They must be good sons because the mother is fundamental, they respect and honour her with love. Loyalty to friends, ecobio, involves not denouncing them under any circumstances. When the candidate, the ndíseme, is certain of fulfilling the requisites to join the association, his decision is formalized. He presents himself to the "power" to which he wants to belong and from that point onwards begins to discover himself.

When the investigation and the one-year observation period is over, the future member prepares himself to become an Abacuá in the ceremony, or plante, part public and part secret, during which anybody can question his membership, including his parents, who can oppose him becoming an Abacuá.

Own language, symbols and drawings

The worst thing that can happen to the candidate is for someone to claim that he does not possess the right attitudes or conditions.

This is enough for him not to be initiated, and it begins a chain of persecution and physical aggression between the two individuals and the candidate's sponsor, that nobody reveals publicly, because they know that such behaviour is condemned.

This fraternal society, like the masons and others, has its own language, symbols and drawings that were brought by their African ancestors.

The original Abacuás were based in urban regions, mainly in the port areas of Havana, Matanzas and Cárdenas, which is why so many of their members were stevedores. Their origin, social situation and the desire to unite in order to protect themselves against the hostility of the slave regime is what provoked the rise of Abacuá in our country. They have existed since 1836, when members of a Carabalí lodge, in the town of Regla, founded the first "power," made up of free Africans and slaves.

Ever since it was founded, the Spanish persecuted the secret organization. They help each other like brothers in the face of any difficulty.

Rituals


Rituals integral to Santeria
There are elements of Catholicism in their rituals, above all those related to baptism and communion, as they use coconut milk as holy water, burn incense and kneel before the altar during ceremonies when the cross is present, a practice that was introduced in rituals here in Cuba to fool the Spanish colonial authorities that were persecuting them.

This is the positive side of the organization's history, as it has also served as a refuge for all kinds of delinquents, and its methods have also been used to justify bad practices, because apart from the requisites needed to enter the group the Abacuá have ignored other social considerations, sometimes to the extreme.

Some day this will need to be revised.
Now you know that one is a religious association and one isn't.
They shouldn't be confused.
There is still a great deal to find out about them and they deserve more in-depth study."

Finishing the explanation, I talked to her about what the carnivals are like in February.

Carnival
"It's practically impossible to cross the Prado, because of the crowds waiting to see the floats on Saturdays, and then everyone takes a stroll on Sunday just like now.

The jury sits opposite the Capitolio building and watches the procession, the dances, their rhythm and choreography, the floats observing the ingenious construction, the elegance and beauty of the women dancing on them and the glittering colourful costumes.

Tranquillity

Further on, in front of the Capitolio, female bands play during the weekdays and there are lots of chairs stretching from the Parque de la India, many kiosks selling beer, soft drinks, streamers, masks, confetti, whistles, rattles, food, all kinds of sandwiches, all the way down to the seafront drive.

Many stay till late at night, walking up and down Prado Promenade, under the laurel trees and the birds nests until the street sweepers arrive and begin sweeping the pink and white polished marble pavements with huge brooms all along the boulevard.
Then the water hoses dispel the few people that are left and soon the tranquillity of early morning reigns on Prado, broken only by the occasional car horn at the crossroads with Neptuno Street."


Granma International Digital Edition
Source: http://granmai.cubaweb.com/ingles/julio1/27santer-i.html

Related reading on Shunpiking Online

Afro Cubans
http://www.shunpiking.com/bhs/Cuban-blks.htm





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MessageSujet: Re: Cuba's SANTEROS. Vodouwizan Kiben.   Sam 29 Nov 2008 - 8:39

Lè w tande Ayisyen ap di w se ak Vodou nou te genyen gè Lendepandans nou an;se vre men se pa vre ,paske lan tan gè endepandans lan ipokrizi an te deja kòmanse.
Tousen Louvèti e pita Kristòf te deja ap pouswiv vodouyizan;se pou nou di tou anperè an ,lan sajès li ki enkonparab ,pa t fè sa ;konstitisyon misye an pa t menm rekonèt siperyorite yon relijyon sou yon lòt ;tankou sa ap fèt de fakto jis jounen jodi an.

Kiben ,lan tout istwa yo te vodouyizan lan tout mwèl yo ,yo menm yo pa t lan ipokrizi.
Lan 18 yèm syèk pou "fèt dè wa" viswa panyòl lan te konn resevwa alatèt "cabildo" yo lan palè lan LA HAVAN,cabildo yo se te tankou SOUKRI ak SOUVNANS.
Vodou te tèlman aksepte pa tout seksyon lan popilasyon an ,ke WOM te blije foure bouch lan bagay sa a.
Se an 1912 ke lan konfli ant blan ak nwa lan Kiba ,ke yo te kòmanse ap pèsikite vodouyizan,paske lòj te ka konstitye pwen de raliman pou nwa kiben yo ,tankou sa te fèt lan preparasyon gè lendepandans lan.

Lame ki te fè gè lendepandans kiben an te menm gen yon non kongolè ,non li se te "Lame Mambi" e jeneral an chèf ann apre an se te yon gwo ougan yo te rele QUINTIN BANDERAS,se misye ki te responsab "pwen" an ,pwen ki pou te pwoteje ak gide Lame an.

Jis jounen jodi an ,Vodou rete relijyon ki pi popilè lan Kiba ,preske 70% popilasyon an pratike e si w al lan Miyami ak katye Kiben lan Jersey City yo ,lan chak kwen la ri yo w ap wè sa yo rele "botanica" yo.
Lan Kiba ,e blan ,e nwa ,pratike Vodou!
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MessageSujet: Re: Cuba's SANTEROS. Vodouwizan Kiben.   Sam 29 Nov 2008 - 9:24

Nou menm nou te pito siyen konkorda ak Rome ;lè w pa renmen sa ki pa w ki kontribityon ou ka kite pou jeneratyon ki ap vini deyè yo.mwen byen kontan li teks saa maten yan.mwen ta swete ke jeness la fè diferans ant vodou e sorcellerie.
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MessageSujet: Re: Cuba's SANTEROS. Vodouwizan Kiben.   Sam 29 Nov 2008 - 11:08

JUAN ALMEIDA BOSQUE
Major of the Cuban Revolution and Vice-President of the Council of State

Nèg saa, se yon kiben nwa.

Li lan twazyem ran, apre Fidel ak Raul, lan yerachi politik Kiba.
Li se Visprezidan peyi a.

Li te rankontre Fidel lan inivesite Lahavan le yo te etidyan.
Depi lè saa, li patisipe lan tout batay rebel yo:
Atak Moncada, prizon avèk Kastro, ekzil Meksik, ekspedisyon Granma, Sierra maestra.

Gen rime ki di li se desandan ayisyen.

Se yon gran ekriven e konpozitè misik Kiba.
Li tèlman solid ke malgre konplotay meriken fè pou mete l dozado ak Kastro, li kenbe plas li e konfyans toutmoun.

Meriken mete enfomasyon komkidire li te lan konspirasyon avèk Che, pou yo te touye Kastro.
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MessageSujet: Re: Cuba's SANTEROS. Vodouwizan Kiben.   Sam 29 Nov 2008 - 13:05

'Sacred carnival' offers respite in troubled year



By JENNIFER KAY – 22 hours ago
MIAMI (AP) — Goat meat stewing on the stove and sweet potatoes baking in the oven. Cooked fish, complete with bones and eyeballs. Spicy peppers soaked in bottles of rum.
The food is an offering to the spirits expected to dance among the revelers at Voodoo priest Erol Josue's Miami home that night.

Josue's belief: Provide spiritual sustenance to both the living and dead in Haiti and the U.S. to help the linked communities cope with disasters that have embroiled them the past year. Worldwide economic turmoil, the ruin and death left in Haiti by four tropical storms and a school collapse that killed 90 all have left an imprint.

Josue's night-long celebration of the dead, a condensed version of the two-day festival in Haiti that opened November, was repeated in other homes in Haitian-American communities during the month.

Vodouisants believe the Gede, or the dead, rituals honor their ancestors and the spirits and help clear the pain of recent tragedies. About 1 million Haitians live in the U.S., most in Florida. Large communities are also in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

"Artists and advocates for Haiti have been doing relief concerts to bring money for Haiti, which is very good, but as a spiritual person, as a priest, I think first of all we have to pay respect for our brothers and sisters, for those souls who have died," Josue said.

Hours before the "sacred carnival," Josue and a handful of vodouisants gathered before a small altar to pay special homage to the nearly 800 storm victims and those killed in the Nov. 7 school collapse.

He had expected at least 20 people for the daytime service.
But many have reserved their extra cash to help relatives in impoverished Haiti. They told Josue they couldn't afford the gas for driving to the outskirts of Miami twice in the same day. And when they came for the night service, they would wear the same black and purple clothes they had on last year, not being afford new things.

"And there's only one goat," Josue said and sighed.
In the past, many guests laid offerings on the altars adorned with decorative skulls in black top hats. This year, they spent what they could to honor the dead, while still trying to support the living, Josue said.

"I don't think the Gede will be offended," Josue said. "They will be concerned about the condition of the world, because they have a lot of work to do now."

Voodoo, a blend of Christian tenets and African religions, was sanctioned as an official religion in Haiti in 2003. It is widely practiced in the Caribbean country of nearly 9 million people, and emigrants continue traditions fused by slaves in Haiti's colonial past.

Believers look to the celebration of the dead as a way to relinquish the pain of the past year and "start the new year with a positive attitude and let go of anything that is going to weigh you down physically and emotionally," Raymonde Baptiste of Miami said after the requiem at Josue's home. "This is a way of moving on."

All worries seemed to be abandoned at Josue's front door by 10 p.m., when the festivities began. About 75 people, from young adult to old, crammed into his living room, emptied of its furnishings to make room for four conga drummers and a central pole draped in black and purple, the colors of death and strength.

More guests, including a few wearing skull T-shirts, spilled onto a sun porch and into the front hallway.

Josue and a few initiates, now dressed in black and purple, began calling the spirits with dancing and singing around the pole. When the spirits overtook their bodies, they staggered and lurched in the small space, supported by the outstretched arms of the crowd.

The drummers maintained an upbeat, sometimes frenzied pace well into the early morning. The air grew thick with incense and the sweaty crush of guests joining the other dancers in the hip-swiveling gyrations that reflect the Gede's joking, vulgar nature.

The Gede festival, believers say, is a time to say and do things usually discouraged the rest of the year. It's just the fix for a tough year at home in the U.S., and at home in Haiti.

Haitians abroad sent about $1.83 billion home last year, amounting to about 35 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

"When you do the Gede, it's like therapy," said Ingrid Llera, a Voodoo priestess who lives in Homestead, Fla. "You just let it all out."
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