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Word Count: 1,143
When one thinks of Santeria images of black magic sorcery and barbarism come to mind Media portrayal such as the newspaper headline Blood Cults Spread through US have served only to enforce these negative misconceptions often linked to Santeria As a result of it people outside of the culture view it as barbaric arguing that it is just a cover up for the sensationalized killing and sacrificing of animals Since people who are outside of the religion have a difficult time accepting Santeria for what it is the followers of it have chosen to keep it hidden from the public eye in order to keep themselves and their family members safe from persecutors However regardless of common misconceptions people might have about Santeria it is a legitimate religion that has managed to stay strong for over three hundred years Santeria started in the 17th century by a nation of people known as the Yoruba They were brought over as slaves to Cuba to work the plantations and harvest the islands sugar crop The Yorubas were forced to disguise their religion To do so they worshiped their Orishas or spirits The Yoruba believe that for every action there is a Orisha beneath the images of Catholic Saints When the Yoruba people were brought over from Nigeria they were baptized as Roman Catholics Although they were forced to accept Catholic beliefs they worshiped their Orishas according to Roman Catholic Rites This way of worship soon became the accepted way to practice their forbidden religion and developed into Santeria the way of the saints The religion of Santeria has brought much attention to itself because of its rituals of animal sacrifices The sacrifices occur to mark events such as birth marriage death as well as for the initiation of a new member into the church or family The Santeria word for sacrifice is Ebo It is this practice which has brought so much negative attention to the
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