Life Stories: Get into the Party Spirits
Roma, Natalie, The Independent (London, England)
It's a sweet irony that Spain, having spent hundreds of years converting Latin America to the Castilian ideal, has begun to embrace the Latino way of life. Cuban culture is seriously hip in Iberia, and particularly in Barcelona. But beyond the salsa and the mojitos, things have taken a turn for the mystic. The latest craze is a religion called Santeria, whose rituals include animal sacrifice and conversing with spirits.
Catalans have a reputation among other Spaniards for being dour, but their new pastime is challenging this stereotype. "Cuban culture has inspired Catalans to spice up their lives," says Stephanie Theobald, who spent four years in the city researching her novel Sucking Shrimp (published by Flame this November). "It's all about sinking a few cocktails and rushing off to a party for the spirits of the dead."
Santeria, the religion of the Yoruba people, a west African tribe, was taken to Latin America by slaves. Today it has a wide following in Brazil and is particularly popular in Cuba, where an estimated 70 per cent of the population are devotees. As Cubans emigrate in search of a better life, they take the religion with them and Santeria is now widespread in Miami and Spain.
It centres on the god Olorun, who communicates with the world through spirit guides called Orishas. The ceremonies involve singing, trances and sacrificing chickens. Gatherings are normally held in the home of a santero, or priest, and often involve plenty of …
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Publication information: Article title: Life Stories: Get into the Party Spirits. Contributors: Roma, Natalie - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 15, 2001. Page number: 3. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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