Candomblé Ketu is the largest and most influential branch of Candomblé, a religion practiced in Brazil 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. Queto is a system of beliefs that merges the Yoruba mythology with Christianity and Indigenous American traditions. Queto developed in the Portuguese Empire. Yoruba slaves carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and spirits, animal sacrifice, sacred drumming and dance, its origins are entwined with the religious and beneficent brotherhoods organized by the Roman Catholic Church among ethnic Yoruba slaves. The religion grew popular among slaves because it was a way for Yoruba slaves to maintain their culture and express independence.
Numerous terreiros of the Ketu branch of Candomblé have received historic status and government protection from the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage. Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká in Salvador was the first non-Roman Catholic and first Afro-Brazilian religious place of worship to receive protected heritage status in Brazil. Ilê Odó Ogé known as Terreiro Pilão de Prata, has protected heritage status from the state of Bahia; as the largest branch of the Candomblé religion, Ketu origins have a major influence on the religion as a whole. Although there are various branches of Candomblé, the foundational beliefs are the same, they differ based on names and rituals due to no written scripture. Each branch possesses a unique deity under the Supreme god Olódùmarè, seen as unequaled and beyond all existence. Ketu’s deity is named Orisha. Orishas controls the destiny of the acts as a guardian. Orishas represent different forces in nature, colors and days of the week. In Ketu, Candomblé storytelling and animal sacrifices are important.
Storytelling is expected to be done in a clear and precise way in order to be passed down to further generations. Animals such as pigs, cows and chicken are sacrificed. Animals are seen as sacred, so they are sacrificed as a way to transfer energy between nature and Orishas. There was a great deal of Catholic resistance due to the belief. Slaves incorporated Catholic Saints in order to keep their practices a secret. Catholics wanted to slaves to convert to their religion and feared retaliation if slaves became too independent. Olorum Exu Ogum Oxóssi Oxum Oxalufã Oxaguiã Orixá Okô Olissá Orunmilá Xangô Ayrá Iemanjá Ossãe Oyá Obaluaiê Omolu Jagun Nanã Buruku Oxumarê Obá Ewá Ibêji Logun Edé Iroko Olorokê Apaoká Iyami Oxorongá Egungun Santería Ifá Yvonne, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, Bahian Candomblé, University of Illinois Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-25207-207-9.:: Everything you wanted to know about Santeria Candomblé Ketu Ilê Opó Afonjá, a major Ketu house in Salvador Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade Qualia Folk
Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced in Brazil by the povo de santo. Candomblé originated in Salvador, Bahia at the beginning of the 19th century, when the first temple was founded. Candomblé is practiced in Brazil, is practiced in other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela, having as many as two million followers. Candomblé developed in a creolization of traditional Yoruba and Bantu beliefs brought from West and Central Africa by enslaved captives in the Portuguese Empire. Between 1549 and 1888, the religion developed in Brazil, influenced by the knowledge of enslaved African priests who continued to teach their religion, their culture, language. In addition, Candomblé absorbed elements of Roman Catholicism and includes indigenous American traditions; as an oral tradition, it does not have holy scriptures. Practitioners of Candomblé believe in a Supreme Creator called Oludumaré, served by lesser deities, which are called Orishas; every practitioner is believed to have their own tutelary orisha, which controls his or her destiny and acts as a protector.
Music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies, since the dances enable worshippers to become possessed by the orishas. In the rituals, participants make offerings like minerals and animals. Candomblé does not include the duality of evil. Candomblé does not have holy texts. Only have scholars and "povo de santo" begun to write down its practices; the word Candomblé means "dance in honour of the gods", music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies. The name Batuque is used to refer to the religion before the 19th century. After that, Candomblé became more common. Both words are believed to be derived from a Bantu-family language that of the Kingdom of Kongo. Candomblé may be called Macumba in some regions of Brazil, notably Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Macumba has a distinct set of practices more akin to European witchcraft. Candomblé originated among enslaved Africans who were transplanted to Brazil during the Atlantic slave trade. From the earliest days of the slave trade, many slave owners and Catholic Church leaders felt it was important to convert enslaved Africans.
They believed this would fulfill their religious obligations and lead the enslaved to be more submissive in their status. Some historians suggest that Africans were forced to give up their traditional religions to cut their ties to their pasts. Although the Church succeeded in many cases, not all slaves converted. Many outwardly practiced Christianity but secretly prayed to their own God, gods, or ancestor spirits. In Brazil, adherents of Candomblé saw in the Catholic veneration of saints a similarity with their own religion. Bantu followers found a shared system of worship with Brazil's indigenous people, through this connection they re-learned the ancestor worship, part of their own traditional systems, they concealed the sacred symbols of their deities inside figures of their Catholic saints. In segregated communities of the country, it was easy to create Catholic fraternities where slaves would meet with each other; these meetings, were an opportunity for Candomblé worship to be practiced and for feasts to be held on special religious days.
They were opportunities for the enslaved to gather and plan rebellions against their masters. Candomblé was condemned by the Catholic Church. Followers of the faith were persecuted violently, including by government-led public campaigns and police action. Repression of African religion began early in the Portuguese colonial period, with calundu subject to the Inquisition; the Brazilian Penal Code of 1850 condemned charlatanismo curandeirismo. Both Candomblé religious leaders and terreiros were attacked by the police. With Catholicism as the state religion, other religious practices threatened the secular authority; the persecution stopped in the 1970s with repeal of a law requiring police permission to hold public religious ceremonies. The religion has surged in popularity in Brazil since with as many as two million people professing to follow this faith, it is popular in Salvador, Bahia, in the northeast region of Brazil, more isolated from other influences and had a high percentage of enslaved Africans.
Many people from African countries visit Bahia in order to learn more about the faith of their ancestors. For many followers, Candomblé is not only a matter of religious belief but of reclaiming the cultural and historical identity of ethnic Africans, although their separate tribal identities have been obscured by peoples being mixed in communities during and after slavery. Brazilian slaves came from a number of African geographic regions and ethnic groups, including Mbundu, Igbo, Kongo and Ewe. Slave handlers classified them by the shore of embarkment, so records of ethnicity may not have been accurate, as captives were transported overland away from native areas before being loaded on ships; as the religion developed semi-independently in different regions of Brazil, among different African ethnic groups, it evolved into several "branches" or nations. These are distinguished chiefly by their set of worshiped deities, as well as the music and language used in the rituals; the division into nations was influenced by the religious and beneficent brotherhoods organized by the Catholic Church among Brazilian slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.
These fraternities, organized alo
The Bantu beliefs are the system of beliefs and legends of the Bantu peoples of Africa. Although Bantu peoples account for several hundred different ethnic groups, there is a high degree of homogeneity in Bantu cultures and customs, just as in Bantu languages; the phrase "Bantu mythology" refers to the common, recurring themes that are found in all or most Bantu cultures. All Bantus traditionally believe in a supreme God; the nature of God is only vaguely defined, although he may be associated with the Sun, or the oldest of all ancestors, or have other specifications. Most names of God include the Bantu particle ng, related to the sky. In many traditions, in fact, God is supposed to live in the skies, much like in western mythologies and religions. There are several Bantu myths that are intended to explain, or that elaborate on, the distance between God and men, i.e. the sky and the earth. In many Bantu creation myths the sky and the earth used to be closer to each other, were separated by God because of some disturbance caused by men.
For example, there's a Bantu myth of God being disturbed by the pestles handled by women, that would hit His belly when raised up, another one where God is offended by the smoke of man-made fires. There are myths about men trying to climb up to God's place. God is never described as the Creator of all things, as in most Bantu mythologies the universe is eternal and has no beginning. Animals are a part of this eternal universe. While not its creator, God is intimately related to the universe. In traditional Bantu religions, God is high above the earth. All religious practices are intended to worship God; this traditional attitude of Bantu belief systems has been modified, to various degrees and in various ways, by the advent of Christianity, as the God of Christians and Muslims has been equated to the Bantu supreme God. Mungu has thus become a God that cares about humanity and that it makes sense to worship and pray to. While in Bantu mythology the universe and the animals are eternal, so that there are no creation myths about their origin, the opposite holds for mankind.
In many Bantu myths, the first man was born from a plant: for example, he came from a bamboo stem in Zulu, from a "Omumborombonga" tree in Herero mythology. Other traditions have the first men come out of a hole in the ground. People that live on cattle farming believe that men and cattle appeared on earth together, it can be noted that, as is the case with many mythologies, Bantu mythologies about the creation of man are limited to describing their own origins, rather than those of all of humanity. For example, most Bantu peoples that coexist with bushmen do not include these in their creation myths. Most Bantu cultures share a common myth about the origin of death. According to this myth, God sent the chameleon to announce to men; the chameleon went on his mission, but he walked and stopped along the way to eat. Some time after the chameleon had left, a lizard went to announce to men. Being much quicker than the chameleon, the lizard arrived first, thus establishing the mortal nature of man; as a consequence of this myth, both chameleons and lizards are considered bad omens in Bantu cultures.
Depending on local traditions, there are different explanations for the "double message" of the chameleon and lizard. In some cases, God sends both the chameleon and the lizard, with their respective omens, intentionally committing mankind's destiny to the outcome of their race. In some other cases, the lizard eavesdrops the orders God gives to the chameleon, chooses to bring the opposite message out of envy. In still other cultures, after having sent the chameleon, God changes his mind as a consequence of the bad behaviour of mankind. Missionaries have adapted the myth of the chameleon to evangelize Bantu Africans. In most African cultures, including Bantu cultures, veneration of the dead plays a prominent role; the spirits of the dead are believed to influence the world of the living. This spiritual existence is not considered eternal; as a consequence and heroes, who are celebrated by oral tradition, live for centuries, while the spirit of common people may vanish in the turn of a few generations.
The dead communicate with the living in different ways. If they take any visible shape, it is that of some animal; the living, through clairvoyants and seers, may address the dead in order to receive advice or ask for favours. If a spirit takes offence in something done by a living person, he may cause illness or misfortun
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola. Inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica as labourers; the island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England conquered it and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy dependent on African slaves; the British emancipated all slaves in 1838, many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British utilized Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations.
The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city, with a population of 937,700. Jamaicans have African ancestry, with significant European, Indian and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, Jamaica has a large diaspora in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States. Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen, her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Sir Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
The indigenous people, the Taíno, called the island Xaymaca in Arawakan, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water" or the "Land of Springs". Colloquially Jamaicans refer to their home island as the "Rock." Slang names such as "Jamrock", "Jamdown", or "Ja", have derived from this. The Arawak and Taíno indigenous people, originating in South America, first settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC; when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494, there were more than 200 villages ruled by caciques. The south coast of Jamaica was the most populated around the area now known as Old Harbour; the Taino still inhabited Jamaica when the English took control of the island in 1655. The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any evidence of the Taino/yamaye. Today, few Jamaican natives remain. Most notably among some Maroon communities as well as within some communities in Cornwall County, Jamaica Christopher Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain after landing there in 1494, his probable landing point was Dry Harbour, called Discovery Bay, St. Ann's Bay was named "Saint Gloria" by Columbus, as the first sighting of the land.
One and a half kilometres west of St. Ann's Bay is the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, established in 1509 and abandoned around 1524 because it was deemed unhealthy; the capital was moved to Spanish Town called St. Jago de la Vega, around 1534. Spanish Town has the oldest cathedral of the British colonies in the Caribbean; the Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann. In the 1655 Invasion of Jamaica, the English, led by Sir William Penn and General Robert Venables, took over the last Spanish fort on the island; the name of Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía, alluding to the lard-making industry based on processing the numerous boars in the area. In 1660, the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 1,500 black. By the early 1670s, as the English developed sugar cane plantations and "imported" more slaves, black people formed a majority of the population; the colony was shaken and destroyed by the 1692 Jamaica earthquake.
The Irish in Jamaica formed a large part of the island's early population, making up two-thirds of the white population on the island in the late 17th century, twice that of the English population. They were brought in as indentured labourers and soldiers after the conquest of Jamaica by Cromwell's forces in 1655; the majority of Irish were transported by force as political prisoners of war from Ireland as a result of the ongoing Wars of the Three Kingdoms at the time. Migration of large numbers of Irish to the island continued into the 18th century. Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and forcibly converted to Christianity in Portugal, during a period of persecution by the Inquisition; some Spanish and Portuguese Jewish refugees went to the Netherlands and England, from there to Jamaica. Others were part of the Iberian colonisation of the New World, after overtly converting to Catholicism, as only Catholics were allowed in the Spanish colonies. By 1660, Jamaica had become a refuge for Jews in the New World attracting those, expelled from Spain and Portugal.
An early group of Jews arrived in 1510, soon after the son of Christopher Columbus settled on the island. Working as merchants and traders, the
Loa are the spirits of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo. They are referred to as "mystères" and "the invisibles" and are intermediaries between Bondye —the Supreme Creator, distant from the world—and humanity. Unlike saints or angels, they are not prayed to, they are served, they are each distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, dances, ritual symbols, special modes of service. Contrary to popular belief, the loa are not deities of themselves; the word loa comes from the French les lois. The enslaved Fon and Ewe in Haiti and Louisiana syncretized the loa with the Catholic saints—vodoun altars will display images of Catholic saints. For example, Papa Legba is syncretized with Saint Lazarus of Bethany. Syncretism works the other way in Haitian Vodou and many Catholic saints have become loa in their own right, most notably Philomena, the archangel Michael, Jude the Apostle, John the Baptist. In a ritual the loa are called down by the houngan, mambo, or the bokor and the caplata to take part in the service, receive offerings, grant requests.
The loa arrive in the peristyle by mounting a horse in Creole referred as "Chwal"—who is said to be "ridden". This can be quite a violent occurrence as the participant can flail about or convulse before falling to the ground, but some loa, such as Ayizan, will mount their "horses" quietly. Certain loa display distinctive behavior by which they can be recognized, specific phrases, specific actions; as soon as a loa is recognized, the symbols appropriate to them will be given to them. For example, Erzulie Freda will be given a glass of pink champagne, she is sprinkled with her perfumes, fine gifts of food will be presented to her or she puts on her jewelry. Once the loa have arrived, been served, given help or advice, they leave the peristyle. Certain loa can become obstinate, for example the Guédé are notorious for wanting just one more smoke, or one more drink, but it is the job of the houngan or mambo to keep the spirits in line while ensuring they are adequately provided for. There are many families or "nanchons" of loa: Rada, Nago and Ghede, among others.
The Rada loa are older, as many of these spirits come from Africa and the kingdom of Dahomey. The Rada Loa are water spirits and many of the Rada loa are served with a water; the Rada are "Cool" in the sense. They include Legba, Ayizan, Damballa Wedo and Ayida-Weddo, Maîtresse Mambo Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, La Sirène, Agwé. Many of these spirits are served with white; the Petro loa are the more fiery aggressive and warlike loa, are associated with Haiti and the New World. They include Ezili Dantor and Met Kalfu, their traditional colour is red. Originating from the Congo region, these loa include the many Simbi loa, it includes Marinette, a fierce and much feared female loa. Originating from Yorubaland, this nation includes many of the Ogoun loa; the Guédé are the spirits of the dead. They are traditionally led by the Barons, Maman Brigitte; the Ghede as a family are loud, sexual, a lot of fun. As those who have lived they have nothing to fear, will display how far past consequence and feeling they are when they come through in a service—eating glass, raw chillis, anointing their sensitive areas with chilli rum, for example.
Their traditional colours are purple. Alusi Dahomean religion Haitian mythology Nkisi Orisha Paquet congo Winti Webster list of loa
Santería known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla de Ifá, or Lucumí, is an Afro-American religion of Yoruba origin that developed in Cuba among West African descendants. Santería is a Spanish word that means the "worship of saints". Santería is syncretized with Roman Catholicism, its sacred language is the Lucumí language, a remnant of Yoruba language, used in rituals but no longer spoken as a vernacular and not understood by practitioners. Santería is a system of beliefs that merges aspects of Yoruba religion brought to the New World by enslaved Yoruba people along with Christianity and the religions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in addition to Cuban Spiritism which developed from Allen Kardec Spiritism; the Yoruba people carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice, sacred drumming and dance. The need to preserve their traditions and belief systems in a hostile cultural environment prompted enslaved africans of various ethnic groups in Cuba, starting from as early as 1515, to merge their customs with aspects of Roman Catholicism.
This religious tradition evolved into. The colonial period from the standpoint of enslaved African people can be defined as a time of perseverance, their world changed. Tribal kings and their families, politicians and community leaders all were enslaved and taken to a foreign region of the world. Religious leaders, their relatives and their followers were no longer free people to worship as they saw fit. Colonial laws criminalized their religion, they were forced to become baptized and worship a god their ancestors had not known, surrounded by a pantheon of saints. The early concerns during this period seem to have necessitated a need for individual survival under harsh plantation conditions. A sense of hope was sustaining the internal essence of what today is called Santería, a misnomer for the Cuban expression of the Orisa faith. In the heart of their homeland, the Yoruba people had a complex social order, they were a sedentary hoe farming cultural group with specialized labor. Their religion, based on the worship of nature, was documented by their slave owners.
Santería, a pejorative term that characterizes deviant Catholic forms of worshiping saints, has become a common name for the religion. The term santero is used to describe a priest or priestess replacing the traditional term Olorisha as an extension of the deities; the orishas became known as the saints in image of the Catholic pantheon. In order to preserve and shield their traditional beliefs, the Lucumí people syncretized their Orichás with Catholic saints. Spanish colonial planters who saw the enslaved African people celebrating on saints' days did not know that they were performing rituals related to Orichás, assumed that they were showing more interest in Catholic saints than in the Christian God—hence the origin of the term Santería; the historical veiling of the relationship between Catholic saints and Orichás is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, are Roman Catholics, have been baptized, require initiates to be baptized in Roman Catholicism as well.
The spread of Santería beyond the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean, including to the United States, was catalyzed by the Cuban Revolution of 1959. In 1974, the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye became the first Santería church in the United States to become incorporated. Santería does not use a central creed for its religious practices; these rituals and ceremonies take place in what is known as a house-temple or casa de santos known as an ilé. Most ilés are in the homes of the initiated priestesses. Ilé shrines are built, by the priests and priestess, to the different orichás, which creates a space for worship, called an igbodu. In an igbodu there is a display of three distinct thrones that represent the seats of the queens and the deified warriors; each ilé is composed of those who seek guidance from the orishas, as well as those who are in the process of becoming priests. The many cabildos and casas that bridged the 19th and 20th centuries are fondly remembered by contemporary priests as the origins and strongholds of Cuban Lucumí culture and religion.
To become a Santero or Santera, the initiator must go through an intensive week-long initiation process in which the teaching of the ritual skills and moral behavior occurs informally and nonverbally. To begin with, the initiator goes through; the initiator's Padrino cleanses the head with special herbs and water. The Padrino rubs the water in a specific pattern of movements into the scalp of the head. However, if a person is entering Santería for the need of healing, they will undergo the rogación de la cabeza, in which coconut water and cotton are applied on the head to feed it. Once cleansed, there are four major initiation rituals that the initiator will have to undergo: obtaining the elekes, receiving Los Guerreros, making Ocha, Asiento; the first ritual is known as the acquisition of the beaded necklaces.
Abakuá sometimes known as Nañigo, is an Afro-Cuban men's initiatory fraternity or secret society, which originated from fraternal associations in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon. Abakuá has been described as "an Afro-Cuban version of Freemasonry". Known as Ekpe, Ngbe, or Ugbe among the multi-lingual groups in the region, it was believed that Ñáñigos, as the members are known, could be transformed into leopards to stalk their enemies. In contemporary Haiti, where secret societies have remained strong, an elite branch of the army, set up to instill fear in the restless masses was named The Leopards. Among the less mystical Ñáñigo revenges was the ability to turn people over to slavers. In Africa they were notorious operators; the creolized Cuban term Abakuá is thought to refer to the Abakpa area in southeast Nigeria, where the society was active. The first such societies were established by Africans in the town of Regla, Havana, in 1836; this remains the main area of Abakuá implantation the district of Guanabacoa in eastern Havana, in Matanzas where Afro-Cuban culture is vibrant.
Cities with many Afro-Cuban immigrants in Florida such as Key West and Ybor City had a religion known by observers as "Nañigo", referred to as "Carabali Apapa Abacua" by practitioners. By the 1930s much of the religion seemed to have disappeared from visibility. For Abakuá lodges to be formed a structured initiation rite must be performed, something difficult to do for immigrant Abakuá members who are estranged from established lodges in Cuba. For this reason there is a debate as to whether the practices described as "Nañigo" where official Abakuá practices or imitations done by members estranged from official lodges; the term "Nañigo" itself was used to describe any Afro-Cuban traditions practiced in Florida, is thus not reliable to use to describe any set of traditions with accuracy. No Abakuá lodges had been formed in Miami until 1998 an Abakuá group declared its existence in Miami only for Cuban Abakuá members to denounce it since their lodge wasn't official consecrated with sacred materials only found in Cuba.
Members of this society came to be known as ñañigos, a word used to designate the street dancers of the society. The ñañigos, who were called diablitos, were well known by the general population in Cuba through their participation in the Carnival on the Day of the Three Kings, when they danced through the streets wearing their ceremonial outfit, a multicolored checkerboard dress with a conical headpiece topped with tassels; the oaths of loyalty to the Abakuá society’s sacred objects and secret knowledge taken by initiates are a lifelong pact which creates a sacred kinship among the members. The duties of an Abakuá member to his ritual brothers at times surpass the responsibilities of friendship, the phrase "Friendship is one thing, the Abakuá another" is heard. One of the oaths made during initiation is that one will not reveal the secrets of the Abakuá to non-members, why the Abakuá have remained hermetic for over 160 years. Besides acting as a mutual aid society, the Abakuá performs rituals and ceremonies, called plantes, full of theatricality and drama which consists of drumming and chanting in the secret Abakuá language.
Knowledge of the chants is restricted to Abakuá members, but Cuban scholars have long thought that the ceremonies express Abakuá cultural history. Other ceremonies such as initiations and funerals, are secret and occur in the sacred room of the Abakuá temple, called the famba; the rhythmic dance music of the Abakuá combined with Bantu traditions of the Congo contributed to the musical tradition of the rumba. Although hermetic and little known within Cuba, an analysis of Cuban popular music recorded from the 1920s until the present reveals Abakuá influence in nearly every genre of Cuban popular music. Cuban musicians who are members of the Abakuá have continually documented key aspects of their society’s history in commercial recordings in their secret Abakuá language; the Abakuá have commercially recorded actual chants of the society, believing that outsiders cannot interpret them. Because Abakuá represented a rebellious anti-colonial, aspect of Cuban culture, these secret recordings have been popular.
Ireme is the Cuban term for the masked Abakuá dancer known as Idem or Ndem in the Cross River region. The masquerade dancer is covered in a tight-fitting suit and hood, dances with a broom and a staff; the broom serves to cleanse faithful members, while the staff chastises Abakuá traitors. During initiation ceremonies, the staff is called the Erí nBan nDó, while during mournings and wakes it is called AlanManguín Besuá. Abakuá members derive their belief systems and traditional practices from the Igbo, Efik and Ibibio spirits that lived in the forest. Ekpe and synonymous terms were names of a leopard related secret society. Much of what the Abakua believe in terms of religion is conisdered a secret only known to members. Due to the secrecy of the society, little is known of the Abakuá language, it is assumed to be a creolized version of Efik or Ibibio, both related languages or dialects from the Cross River region of Nigeria, because this is the cultural region and ethnic groups where the society originated.
If it is indeed a creolized version of either Efik or Ibibio, it could be compared in purpose and in its formation and origins to other African languages, or specialized vocabularies derived from African languages, used in other Afro-American religions, such as: Lucumí: a Yoruba dialect used in the Cuban Santería religion Iorubá/Nagô: another Yoruba dialect used in the Brazilian Can