Santeria is found in Cuba and the Caribbean and is based upon a blend of African Spirituality fromYoruba and Bantu people in Southern Nigeria, Senegal and Guinea Coast & Congo  along with Catholicism.

The religion is based upon the power of "God" Olorun, or Olódùmarè, the "owner of heaven". and the powers of the Orishas (guardians) to whom one prays or makes ascarifices

The orishas are taken from traditional Africa beliefs and blended with Catholic saints to "hide and legitimize" them for the african Slaves living under the Spanish Catholic Rule. Likewise Capoeira emerged in Brazil as martial art disguised as a dance  among the slave there.

Babalz Ayi became St. Lazarus (patron of the sick)

Shangs became St. Barbara (controls thunder, lightning, fire...)

Eleggua or Elegba became St. Anthony (controls roads, gates etc)

Obatala became Our Lady of Las Mercedes, and the Resurrected Christ (father of creation; source of spirituality)

Oggzn became St. Peter (patron of war)

Oshzn became Our Lady of Charity (controls money, sensuality...)

Ancestor worship (Filial Piety) is found here too where there are rituals or prayers asking for guidance or help.

This worldview is that humans are part of nature and that it is important to keep or maintain a balance with nature.


Rituals and sacrifices are made, where there may be the sacrifice of an animal (usually chickens) or the burning of candles or clothing or other objects.

Its followers make alters or statues of the patron saint and will place a glass of water and flowers nearby, often with an assortment of other objects.   

Possion states (through dancing and drumming) ie. Carnaval Drums and dances   are used in sacred ceremonies where the ancestor or Orisha make possess the individual in the ceremony.  This is also seen in other traditional like the nearby Voodoo of the Hatian's and their Zombie rituals as well as traditional African ceremonies like the Zar ceremonies for [menopausal] women who attempt to rid themselves of the possessive Zar spirit.

The tongue eye is placed in the home as a reminder and form of protection. The Eye shows that someone is watching over us (often the saint) and the tongue indicates that ones should not say bad things about others, but rather hold their words in check.

As a form of healthcare followers may engage in rituals or herbal treatments. Today Chinese herbal medicine in Cuba boarders with Santeria.