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Slave's Route: Syncretism in Regla
Date: NOV 06, 2006
Other Reports

Slavery in Cuba, boosted by the Spanish conquistadors, left a deep imprint in hundreds of sites throughout the Caribbean Island, as a result of a phenomenon that destroyed entire peoples in the African continent.

Thousands of men, women and children, forcibly uprooted from their homes, were used as cheap labor force, but at the same time, they contributed valuable elements to the formation of Cuban nationality.

Therefore, the initiative to create programs to spread the reality of slavery and its social influence was the starting point of the project known as The Slave's Route in Cuba.

Experts say that with that initiative, Cuba put into practice a project sponsored by international agencies.

The ruins of plantations, sugar mills and old colonial estates are silent witnesses to slavery throughout the country, where many African slaves upraised against Spanish domination.

Museums hold valuable treasures from the slavery period and are referrals for the youngest generations.

One of those institutions is the Municipal Museum of Regla, which was inaugurated in 1982 and which is the institution that best represents the community in a municipality made up of the former towns of Regla and Casablanca.

But Regla is also an exponent of Afro-Hispanic culture, as cults of African origin that characterize the local religious life today developed in the region in the 19th century.

Each of them contributed its music, chants, dances, ritual handicrafts and food to the country's popular culture, and the Municipal Museum of Regla shows religious artifacts that are testimonies of the presence of African culture in the region.

The Secret Abakuá Society, also known as "ñañiguismo", the Ocha Rule or Santeria, and the Congo religion or Rule of Palo Monte, are the most outstanding cults.

The experts say that Regla is considered "the birthplace of Afro-Cuban ñañiguismo", because the first ñáñigo power or society, known as Efik Butón, was founded in the town in as early as 1836.

In addition, Cuban Santeria has always been present in the town, especially in the form of popular public parties of the Chapters.

The Chapters were characterized by the syncretism between the worship of Yemayá and the Virgin of Regla, although Our Lady of Mercy, Saint Barbara and Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, of whom Cuban religious people are devout followers, were carried in the processions.

Batá Drums.
Virgin of Regla.
Obatalá dance.
Yemayá dance.
Oshún dance.
Oggún dance.
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    Batá Drums.

    Choose a small photo to enlarge:
    Batá Drums. Virgin of Regla. Obatalá dance. Yemayá dance. Oshún dance. Oggún dance. Our Lady of Mercy. Shangó dance. Aggayú dance. Eleguá dance. Saint Barbara. Attributes of Orishas. Saint Lazarus.
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