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Cuba's Santeria faithful ask for prosperous 2014

At Havana market, Cuban Santeros offer thanks for year's blessings, ask for prosperous 2014

Cuban followers of the Santeria faith visit after attending a ceremony honoring Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and pro...
A Santeria priest or babalawo uses his hand to stir the fresh blood of a slaughtered goat to keep the blood from clotting, at the base of the Eshu-Ele...
Santeria priests or babalawo slaughter a goat over the statue of Eshu-Elegbara at the Cuatro Caminos market in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Cu...
Santeria priest or babalawo Jose Manuel Estrada, 24, sprays rum onto the base of the Eshu-Elegbara statue at the Cuatro Caminos market in Havana, Cuba...
Santeria priest or babalawo Victor Betancourt, 60, squeezes the juice from a piece of watermelon over the statue of Eshu-Elegbara, during a New Year's...
Dionisia Imeli Rosendo, 60, dances during a ceremony honoring Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and protector of the univ...
A woman delivers a rooster as an offering for Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and protector of the universe, during a S...
Cuban followers of the Santeria faith gather round the 2-foot-tall statue of Eshu-Elegbara, at the Cuatro Caminos market, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Follo...
Santeria priests or babalawo add the finishing touches to the Eshu-Elegbara statue, on the eve of a New Year's ceremony at the Cuatro Caminos market i...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Cuban followers of the Santeria faith visit after attending a ceremony honoring Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and pro...

Cuba Santeria New Year

A Santeria priest or babalawo uses his hand to stir the fresh blood of a slaughtered goat to keep the blood from clotting, at the base of the Eshu-Ele...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Santeria priests or babalawo slaughter a goat over the statue of Eshu-Elegbara at the Cuatro Caminos market in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Cu...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Santeria priest or babalawo Jose Manuel Estrada, 24, sprays rum onto the base of the Eshu-Elegbara statue at the Cuatro Caminos market in Havana, Cuba...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Santeria priest or babalawo Victor Betancourt, 60, squeezes the juice from a piece of watermelon over the statue of Eshu-Elegbara, during a New Year's...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Dionisia Imeli Rosendo, 60, dances during a ceremony honoring Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and protector of the univ...

Cuba Santeria New Year

A woman delivers a rooster as an offering for Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and protector of the universe, during a S...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Cuban followers of the Santeria faith gather round the 2-foot-tall statue of Eshu-Elegbara, at the Cuatro Caminos market, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Follo...

Cuba Santeria New Year

Santeria priests or babalawo add the finishing touches to the Eshu-Elegbara statue, on the eve of a New Year's ceremony at the Cuatro Caminos market i...

HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban followers of the Santeria faith beat sacred drums, sacrificed animals and sang ceremonial songs in the Yoruba tongue Monday to give thanks for the year's blessings and ask for prosperity in 2014.

About 200 believers and onlookers thronged Havana's most important market, Cuatro Caminos, for the ceremony dedicated to Eshu-Elegbara, the deity associated with markets and commerce, and also protector of the universe.

"This year was good, it was prosperous," said Victor Betancourt, a "babalawo," or Santeria priest.

In a central courtyard at the market, people sprayed rum from their mouths at a 2-foot-tall cement-and-stone statue of Eshu-Elegbara, crowned with spiral shells. At its base, they left offerings of coconut, watermelon, candy and flowers.

Two goats and two roosters were slaughtered, and their blood used to bathe the icon.

Administrators at Cuatro Caminos authorized babalawos to erect the statue in the patio for the first time this year.

"These offerings have been made here since 1996, but now we've gotten them to let us put it up permanently," Betancourt said.

Cuban Santeria is a syncretic faith mixing Catholicism and African traditions that were brought here long ago by slaves. It is the island's principal religion, with millions of followers.


Updated : 2020-12-02 03:24 GMT+08:00