Dance Rituals of the Yoruba Religion

Photo Feature by Luis Enrique Gonzalez

HAVANA TIMES — A very popular Cuban song from the 90s speaks about the culture that slaves brought to Cuba from Africa, telling us these traditions came from Africa and stayed with us thereafter.

Today, the culture and rites of the Yoruba religion, expressed in such phenomena as the Ifa Priesthood, the Ocha Rule and the Palero Treatises, are indeed an essential part of Cuban folklore.

These rites are fundamentally based on the claim that beings who are invisible to us accompany us and that deities, such as Eggum, govern the world beyond our sensory perception. These deities are portrayed as entities with different personal characteristics and command different types of offerings and dances (like the ones seen in the photographs below).

There is a specific dance made up of unique gestures for each of these deities. Dancers allegedly take in the spirit of the dead, who are said to control the will of the dancer, telling us we are not alone through the movements of the person’s body.

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