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Santería: In Cuba, That 'Voodoo' That You Do So Well
In the Western Hemisphere, the religions brought over by African slaves have been part of the scene for centuries in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and most famously Haiti. But until not many years ago, they were largely condemned by the Roman Catholic church and dismissed as “ignorant” and “low-class” by all but the poor. But I’ve had the chance to observe various aspects of its Cuban variants, both on the island and in South Florida, and whether one believes in it or not, santería is undeniably a moving, often beautiful, occasionally violence-tinged tradition that has in many ways made Cuban music, art, letters and even larger society what they are today. If you visit the island,* chances are you’ll see some reference to santería, whether practitioners dressed in white (above, a lady commonly offering photo ops in Old Havana), shrines, a museum like the one in the town of Regla just across the bay (reachable by ferry), or a folkloric performance including santería dance or music. So I thought a quick introduction might be in order... read more
The 'Bons Temps' Still Rolling on the River in New Orleans
Truly, very few US cities have such a particular flavour, colour, and culture as the Crescent City, and that goes all the way back to its origins - founded in 1718 not by the usual English or Spanish but rather the French, who named it their settlement after the Duke of Orléans Philippe II, France's Regent at the time. Add to that the new U.S. influence following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, and the musical, religious, and other cultural influence of what became a majority-black population - fed originally by the mass importation of African slaves, then followed by immigration from the Caribbean. Stir in the easygoing, fun-loving spirit of the locals (hence that famous local motto laissez les bons temps rouler, "let the good times roll"), and the result is a spicy, savoury gumbo unlike any other in this country and perhaps the planet. One of the proverbial bucket-listers for all travellers, now it's time to dive right into the Big Easy - allons-y! read post
Posted by Sandeep on December 12, 2019 at 9:02am
Posted by Sophie Andersen on December 11, 2019 at 5:51pm