Most of us have heard of Santeria but few of us actually know what it means. Its origins lie in the Yoruba tribes in Africa, present day Nigeria. In the early 19th century, the Yorubas fought a series of wars between each other as well as against other tribes, causing its defeat and eventual slavery. Many Yorubas were sent from Africa to work in sugar plantations in the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic) and Brazil. Upon their arrival in America, they were forcefully evangelized by the Spanish colonial regime. And even though they outwardly converted to the catholic faith, many retained their native beliefs. That fusion of Catholicism and Yoruba traditions created what we now know as Santeria. What the slaves did was identify their African gods, often referred to as Orishas, with Catholic saints, thus creating an interesting fusion that is practiced to this day in many parts of the Caribbean, and thanks to Latino immigration, in some areas of the United States.
Members bite back: