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Yoruba Religion: A Vision of the World

The presence of the Yoruba religion in Cuba for nearly five centuries complements the Caribbean Island's cultural traditions and adds new attractions to the tourist industry today.

Cuba's natural wealth is complemented by religious beliefs that came with African slaves forcibly brought to the Island by the Spanish colonizers and that have been transmitted from generation to generation.

For believers of the Yoruba religion, Olorun – the owner of Heaven – is the source of Ashe, the spiritual energy that makes up the universe, everything alive and all material things.

His link with the world and humankind in general takes place through emissaries known as Orishas – the gods in the Yoruba religion – who appear with human characteristics and other distinguishing elements such as colors, music, animals, and food and drink preferences.

Precisely, the Orishas rule each of the forces of nature and several aspects of human life, in addition to helping their worshippers to get a better material and spiritual life.

Believers see the Orishas, some of whom were human in the past, as guardians and interpreters of universal destiny with an extraordinary life that allowed them to reach the spiritual condition of gods.

Africa House. Babalu Aye
IFA Board
Africa House

Generally, the Orishas are worshipped in different ways, including rituals, music, special food and prayers, in return for their help and advice in all spheres of life.

The categories of the Yoruba religion also include the Egungun, who are represented in the ancestors of each family and are worshipped in their own altars as the spirits of dead people.

Humans, including people alive and those who will be born, play a key role in the Yoruba religion, since they are the ones who can implement the intentions and wishes of the Orishas.

The Yoruba religion mentions plants and animals, which depend on humans who, at the same time, need them as sources of food, sacrifice and cure.

It also includes other elements such as stones, clouds, rivers and metals, which are mentioned as beings with will, power and intentions, while stars are the residences of the Orishas, Egungun and Olorun.

Communication between gods and humans is established through rites, prayers, predictions and offerings, which are accompanied by songs and dances that allow believers to interact with the Orishas.

All these elements reveal the existence of a huge cultural and religious wealth in the Caribbean Island, which attracts both Cubans and foreigners who visit the country.

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