Santería (also spelled "Santaria" or "Lucumi") is an Afro-Caribbean religion that originated in Cuba. It combines elements of the traditional religious beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people of West Africa, who were brought to Cuba as slaves, with elements of Roman Catholicism, which was introduced to the island by Spanish colonizers.
Santería recognizes a pantheon of deities known as orishas, which are associated with different aspects of life, such as love, health, and prosperity. These orishas are believed to be able to interact with the human world and can be invoked through rituals and ceremonies.
The practice of Santería involves a variety of rituals, including animal sacrifice, divination, and the use of herbs and other natural materials for healing. The religion also places a strong emphasis on music and dance, which are often used as a means of communicating with the orishas.
Santería is often syncretic, meaning that it blends elements of different religions, in this case the Yoruba religion and Catholicism. Many practitioners of Santería also identify as Catholic and may participate in both religions simultaneously.
Santería is primarily practiced in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other countries with significant Afro-Caribbean populations, such as the United States and Mexico. However, it is also practiced by people of Afro-Caribbean descent around the world, and by people of other ethnicities who are drawn to the religion's teachings and practices.
It is important to note that Santería is a complex and diverse religion, and different practitioners may have different beliefs and practices. Additionally, the practices of Santería have been misused and misrepresented in the past, and it is important to approach the religion with respect and understanding.