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Cuban architecture

Religion

Religion does not generally play a large part in a Cuban s daily life. Years ago, before the revolution, the people were practicing Catholics. Churches were dotted throughout the country, some of them very beautiful and ornate. Nowadays the story is different, with only 80 000 strict Catholics on the island.

With growing numbers of people coming from different countries, who follow different beliefs, Cuba has become a country with a wide cross-section of religions. You will find Baptists and Methodists congregating on Sundays and in Havana there is a mosque, a synagogue and a Quaker meeting house. Although Christianity has a small following, animism ancestor worship from Africa has a strong following and not just amongst black Cubans.

The Africans absorbed certain catholic ways into their own religions and were therefore accepted in Cuba. There are three main forms of African based beliefs still around today. The first is Santeria, or saint worship. There are hundred saints which are linked to catholic saints and have Christian and African names. Saint´s day celebrations are colorful affairs, with families decorating little shrines in their homes and inviting friends to share rum and cakes.´Palo-Monte´is a highly secret religion, which black magic plays a part. The select few gather in a masonic type lodge and even have their own special handshake. ´abacua´is open only to men and has a small following. The religion originates in Nigeria and the members are called ´karabalis´.


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