Yoruba thrones in Cuba

Yoruba thrones in Cuba

Heritage & Traditions

By Irene Ferrer

Dedicated to the orishas (divinities) and important ceremonial centers, the so-called thrones are among the fundamental elements of the cults of Yoruba origin in the Afro-Cuban religions.

The deities of the Regla de Ocha, known as Santeria, are worshiped in the homes of the faithful, where thrones are installed, kind of altars that reflect the most varied aesthetics, according to the imagination or economic possibilities of the faithful.

However, the colors corresponding to each orisha are respected in all, for example, white for Obatalá, to whom the origin of all the gods is attributed; yellow for Ochún, deity of fresh waters, love and motherhood; blue for Yemayá, queen of the seas and motherhood, red and white for Chango, god of fire and thunder.

Tureens, containers in which the attributes of each divinity are kept in these altars cannot be absent, and they are the center of decoration in solemn celebrations, adorned with necklaces of colored beads, according to the saint, and of several turns.

The faithful place dissimilar elements on thrones: colored cloaks, flowers, food, candles, bells, stamps ... The initiation ceremony of a believer is the reason to make an altar, as well as the celebration of his saint's birthday, the date on which he consecrated himself to a certain orisha and who is his guardian angel.

Other festivals also favor the preparation of these altars, such as the days of Catholic saints from Spain, with which the orishas arrived from Africa have been syncretized.

Among the most popular are February 2, the day of Candelaria-Oyá; September 7, the day of the Virgin of Regla-Yemayá; September 8, Virgen de la Caridad-Ochún (patron saint of Cuba); September 24, day of the Virgin of Las Mercedes-Obatalá; October 4, day of San Francisco de Asís-Orula; December 4, the day of Santa Bárbara-Changó, and December 17, the day of San Lázaro-Babalú Ayé.