Trinidad Orisha

Trinidad Orisha, also known as Shango, is a syncretic religion in Trinidad and Tobago and is of Caribbean origin, originally from West Africa (Yoruba religion) and influenced by Roman Catholicism. Trinidad Orisha incorporates elements of Spiritual Baptism, and the closeness between Orisha and Spiritual Baptism has led to use of the term "Shango Baptist" to refer to members of either or both religions. Anthropologist James Houk described Trinidad Orisha as an "Afro-American religious complex",[1] incorporating elements mainly of traditional African religion and Yoruba and incorporates some elements of Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Hinduism, Islam (especially Sufism), Buddhism, Judaism, Bahá'í, and Trinidad Kabbalah.

Ritual music

Trinidad Orisha practice involves call and response singing accompanied by a trio of drums. Orisha drums are double-headed bi-tensorial cylinders derived from Yoruba bembe drums (similar to the Cuban Iyesá drums). The drum that is lowest in pitch is called the bo or kongo. The lead drum is called "center drum," "big drum," or bembe. The smallest drum, highest in pitch, is called umele. The first two drums are played with a single stick plus hand combination, while the umele is played with a pair of sticks. All of the sticks are curved at the end, and resemble a shepherd's crook.[2] The language of the songs has been referred to as "Trinidad Yoruba"[3] and is derived from the Yoruba language.

References

  1. ^ Houk, James (1995). Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion in Trinidad. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
  2. ^ Bazinet, Ryan (2012). "Shango Dances Across the Water: Music and the Re-Construction of Trinidadian Orisha in New York City". In Kamille Gentles-Peart and Maurice L. Hall (ed.). Re-Constructing Place and Space. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  3. ^ Warner-Lewis, Maureen (1996). Trinidad Yoruba: From Mother Tongue to Memory. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
Afro-American religion

Afro-American religion (also known as African diasporic religions) are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas in various nations of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southern United States. They derive from traditional African religions with some influence from other religious traditions, notably Christianity.

Ali-Illahism

Ali Illahism (Persian: علی‌اللّهی‎) is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and Ali Ilahees reserve particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed as Ali Ilahian, similarly to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism, historically because travelogues were "evident that there is no definite code which can be described as Ali Illahism".Sometimes Ali-Illahism is used as a general term for the several denominations that venerate or deify Ali, like the Kaysanites, the Alawis or the Ahl-e Haqq/Yarsanis, others to mean the Ahl-e Haqq.

Aṣẹ

Ase or ashe (from Yoruba àṣẹ) is a West African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make things happen and produce change. It is given by Olodumare to everything — gods, ancestors, spirits, humans, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, and voiced words such as songs, prayers, praises, curses, or even everyday conversation. Existence, according to Yoruba thought, is dependent upon it.In addition to its sacred characteristics, ase also has important social ramifications, reflected in its translation as "power, authority, command." A person who, through training, experience, and initiation, learns how to use the essential life force of things to willfully effect change is called an alaase.

Rituals to invoke divine forces reflect this same concern for the autonomous ase of particular entities. The recognition of the uniqueness and autonomy of the ase of persons and gods is what structures society and its relationship with the other-world.

Babalawo

Babaaláwo or Babalawo (Babalao or Babalaô in Latin America; literally meaning 'father of the mysteries' in the Yoruba language) is a spiritual title that denotes a priest of the Ifá oracle. Ifá is a divination system that represents the teachings of the Òrìṣà Orunmila, the Òrìṣà of Wisdom, who in turn serves as the oracular representative of Olodumare. A Babalawo's female counterpart is known as an Iyanifa.

Candomblé Ketu

Candomblé Ketu (or Queto in Portuguese) is the largest and most influential branch (nation) of Candomblé, a religion practiced in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The word Candomblé means “ritual dancing or gather in honor of gods” and Ketu is the name of the Ketu region of Benin.Its liturgical language, known as Iorubá or Nagô, is a dialect of Yoruba. Candomblé Ketu developed in the early 19th century and gained great importance to Brazilian heritage in the 20th century.

Egungun

Egungun, in the broadest sense of the word, refers to all types of Yoruba masquerades or masked, costumed figures. More specifically, "Egungun" refers to the Yoruba masquerades connected with ancestor reverence, or to the ancestors themselves as a collective force. The singular form, for an individual ancestor, is Egun or Eegun.

Gẹlẹdẹ

The Gẹlẹdẹ spectacle of the Yoruba is a public display by colorful masks which combines art and ritual dance to amuse, educate and inspire worship. Gelede celebrates “Mothers” (awon iya wa), a group that includes female ancestors and deities as well as the elderly women of the community, and the power and spiritual capacity these women have in society. However, this power may also be destructive and take the form of witchcraft; therefore, Gelede serves the function of appeasing this power, as well.

Letra del año

The Letra del año (Spanish) or Letra do Ano (Portuguese) (English: Letter of the year) is an annual proclamation of predictions and advice by babalawo's for the coming year, usually issued every December 31 (New Year's Eve on the Gregorian calendar). In Yorubaland, it is made by a council of babalawo's during the Odun Ifa (New Year) festival during June. In most of Latin America, a national council of babalawo's is usually responsible for the announcements of predictions. In Cuba, however, at least two national councils (one of which is state-sponsored) offer letras del año. A particular controversy arose in 2009-2010, when one of the Cuban national councils of babalawo issued a letra which predicted fights for power and an unusually high number of deaths of political leaders in the world, which many media outlets outside Cuba interpreted as being directed to Cuba's own political apparatus.

Maria Auxiliadora (artist)

Maria Auxiliadora da Silva (Campo Belo, MG 1935 - São Paulo, SP 1974) was a self-taught Brazilian painter. Her work was nationally and internationally acclaimed. Characterized by bold colors, thick textures, and mixed media, her paintings center largely on the following themes and genres: Everyday community life and popular manifestations in São Paulo, particularly in the neighborhoods of Brasilândia and Casa Verde; Afro-Brazlian religions, specifically Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, and Umbanda; self-portraits in which she represents herself as an artist, a bride, and a woman living with cancer; intimacy and affection between women; and urban and rural life.

Olodumare

Olodumare (Yoruba: O-lo-dù-ma-rè) also known as Olorun (Almighty) is the name given to one of the three manifestations of the Supreme God or Supreme Being in the Yoruba pantheon. Olodumare is the Supreme Creator.The Yoruba believe Olodumare is omnipotent and is also responsible for the creation of all life, Yoruba tradition says everything is in the hands of God (Olodumare) when they are going to bed at night.The name Olodumare symbolises a divine "Entity" following these characteristics: not having a father or mother; one that and is not bound by space.Historically, the Yoruba did not worship Olodumare, there is no specific shrine and no sacrifice is often made towards their way.

Yoruba consider Olodumare to be the origin of virtue and mortality. Is believed to bestow the knowledge of things upon all persons at the time of their birth. The Yoruba call on Olodumare when other deities are unwilling to help or seem incapable. Yoruba believe Olodumare created all other forces of the universe to help continue the evolution of the universe.

Organized religion

Organized religion (or organised religion—see spelling differences), also known as institutional religion, is religion in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.

Orisha

Òrìṣà (original spelling in the Yoruba language), known as orichá or orixá in Latin America, are the human form of the spirits (Irunmọlẹ) sent by Olodumare, Olorun, Olofi in Yoruba traditional identity. The Irunmọlẹ are meant to guide creation and particularly humanity on how to live and succeed on Earth (Ayé). Most Òrìṣà are said to be deities previously existing in the spirit world (Òrun) as Irunmọlẹ, while others are said to be humans who are recognized as deities upon their deaths due to extraordinary feats.Many Òrìṣà have found their way to most of the New World as a result of the Atlantic slave trade and are now expressed in practices as varied as Santería, Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, Umbanda, and Oyotunji, among others. The concept of orisha is similar to those of deities in the traditional religions of the Bini people of Edo State in southern Nigeria, the Ewe people of Benin, Ghana, and Togo, and the Fon people of Benin.

Quimbanda

Quimbanda (Portuguese pronunciation: [kĩˈbɐ̃dɐ]) is an Afro-Brazilian religion practiced primarily in the urban city centers of Brazil. Quimbanda practices are typically associated with magic, rituals with Exus, and Pombagiras spirits. Quimbanda was originally contained under the religious tradition of Macumba. In the early years of the 21st century, some began to assert, despite historical records to the contrary, that Quimbanda was totally separate from Umbanda. Umbanda represented the more Europeanized traits of the religion. Quimbanda has continued to insist that it is a distinct religion, while rejecting Catholic and Kardecist Spiritist influences that have penetrated Umbanda and other Afro-Brazilian religions.

Sopona

Sopona (or Shapona) is the god of smallpox in the Yoruba religion. The Yoruba people took their traditions about Shapona to the New World when they were transported in the slave trade. He has become known as Babalú-Ayé, among many other names, in the Orisha religion that developed in the Americas.Within the traditional religion of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, smallpox was believed to be a disease foisted upon humans due to Shapona’s “divine displeasure.” Formal worship of the god of smallpox was highly controlled by specific priests in charge of shrines to the god. Prior to the early 20th century, people of this religion believed that if the priests were angered, they were capable of causing smallpox outbreaks through their intimate relationship with Shapona. The name "Sapona" (alt. Shapona, Saponna, etc.) is considered a secret and taboo name, not to be spoken aloud in respect for the power of the Lord of Infectious Disease. For this reason, the deity has a number of other names and titles which have been in use since the pre-modern period, such as Omolu.Sapona is the traditional, sacred and protected name of the Orisha popularly known as Babalú-Ayé or Omolu. Speaking his true name is avoided so as to not invoke the power of disease.Dr. Oguntola Sapara suspected that the priests were deliberately spreading the disease, and surreptitiously joined the cult. He discovered that the priests were causing the disease through applying scrapings of the skin rash of smallpox cases. Based on this information, the British colonial rulers banned the worship of Shapona in 1907. Worship continues, however, with the faithful paying homage to the god even after such activities were prohibited.

Spiritual Baptist

The Spiritual Baptist faith is a syncretic Afro-American religion that combines elements of traditional African religion with Christianity. Despite the African influences, Spiritual Baptists consider themselves to be Christians.

The Baptist faith was brought to Trinidad by the Merikins, former American slaves who were recruited by the British to fight, as the Corps of Colonial Marines, against the Americans during the War of 1812. After the end of the war, these ex-slaves were settled in Trinidad, to the east of the Mission of Savannah Grande (now known as Princes Town) in six villages, since then called the Company Villages.These American settlers brought with them the Baptist faith of the Second Great Awakening combined with, in the case of those from Georgia, the Gullah culture. With the coming of missionaries of the Baptist Missionary Society from Great Britain, the Baptist faith in the Company Villages was much affected, but despite the ensuing schism between the so-called London Baptists and the rest, the Baptist congregations of the Company Villages, even including those with Gullah origins, retained so little visible African influence in their practice that John Hackshaw was able to give a different view of the Baptists in the north of the country:

"While those that settled in the 'Company Villages' were exposed to the Baptist Missionary Society's influence, those that settled in the North practiced their beliefs as brought from America with the inclusion of African religious practice and beliefs joined by those they met here which blossomed into the group now known as 'Spiritual Baptists'."

The faith expanded to Barbados in 1957 as the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptists movement. It now ranks as one of two indigenous religions in the country, the other being the Rastafari religion. Archbishop Granville Williams, who was born in Barbados, lived for 16 years in Trinidad and Tobago, where he witnessed the local Spiritual Baptists. Becoming enthusiastic about the Trinidadian movement, he asserted that he had seen a vision and heard the voice of God. Upon returning to Barbados he held the first open-air meeting in Oistins, Christ Church. Due to a well received response in Barbados, he quickly established the Jerusalem Apostolic Spiritual Baptist Church in Ealing Grove. This church was quickly followed by Zion at Richmond Gap. As of 1999 the following in Barbados had reached around 1,900 and the Jerusalem church had been rebuilt to seat 3,000.

Tambor de Mina

Tambor de Mina is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced mainly in Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, Pará, and the Amazônia.

Yoruba calendar

The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) is a calendar used by the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria and southern Benin. The calendar has a year beginning on the last moon of May or first moon of June of the Gregorian calendar, and an era of 8042 BC. The new year coincides with the Ifá festival

The traditional Yoruba week has four days. The four days that are dedicated to the Orisa go as follow:

Day 1 is dedicated to Obatala (Sopanna, Iyaami, and the Egungun)

Day 2 is dedicated to Orunmila (Esu, Ifá and Osun) *

Day 3 is dedicated to Ogun (Osoosi)

Day 4 is dedicated to Sango (Oya)To reconcile with the Gregorian calendar, Yoruba people also measure time in seven days a week and four weeks a month. The four-day calendar was dedicated to the Orisas and the seven-day calendar is for doing business.

The seven days are: Ojo-Aiku (Sunday), Ojo-Aje (Monday), Ojo-Ishegun (Tuesday), Ojo-Iru (Wednesday), Ojo-Bo/Alamisi (Thursday), Ojo-Eti (Friday) and Ojo-Abameta (Saturday).

Time is measured in iṣeju (minutes), wakati (hours), ojo (days), ose (weeks), oṣu (months) and odun (years). There are 60 (ogota) iṣeju in 1 (ookan) wakati; 24 (merinlelogun) wakati in 1 ojo; 7 (meje) ojo in 1 ose; 4 (merin) ose in 1 oṣu and 52 (mejilelaadota) ose in 1 (ookan) odun. There are 12 (mejila) oṣu in 1 (ookan) odun.

Yoruba religion

The Yoruba religion comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, commonly known as Yorubaland. It shares some parallels with the Vodun practiced by the neighboring Fon and Ewe peoples to the west and to the religion of the Edo people to the east. Yoruba religion is the basis for a number of religions in the New World, notably Santería, Umbanda, Trinidad Orisha and Candomblé. Yoruba religious beliefs are part of Itan, the total complex of songs, histories, stories, and other cultural concepts which make up the Yoruba society.

Ọlọrun

Olorun is the ruler of (or in) the Heavens. The Supreme God or Supreme Being in the Yoruba pantheon, Olorun, is also called Olodumare.

Humans do not worship Olorun directly, there are no sacred areas of worship or ordained person. Olorun is outlying, distant and does not partake in human rituals. There are no shrines or sacrifices dedicated directly to him, although followers can send prayers in his direction.Among the Yoruba Christians and Muslims, meanwhile, the word Ọlọrun is also commonly used to denote their faith in God as The Almighty Divine, The Absolute Sovereign."

For Yoruba traditions there is no centralized authority, because of this and the way the traditions were spread through the slave trade to other areas of the world, there are many different ways that Yoruban People and their descendants or Orisa-based faiths can understand the idea of Olorun.

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