Powers of the Orishas: Santeria and the Worship of Saints

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By Migene Gonzalez Wippler

During the slave trade, the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria who were brought to Cuba were forbidden the practice of their religion by their Spanish masters.

In order to continue their magical and religious observances safely the slaves opted for the identification and disguise of the Orishas with some of the Catholic Saints worshipped by the Spainiards. In this manner they were able to worship their deities under the very noses of the Spaniards without danger of punishment.

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