Santeria and Holidays

topic posted Wed, November 23, 2005 - 11:35 AM by  Hija
Alafia All,

What is everyone's takes on Santeria and the holidays.

Which prompts me to ask is Santeria your only religion?

Because that may have some effect on what other holidays you may choose to participate in.

If you do participate in holidays, do you incorporate some Santeria stuff with them, or keep them totally separate religiously or culturally?

Look forward to everyone input.


posted by:
  • Re: Santeria and Holidays

    Wed, November 23, 2005 - 12:52 PM
    I celebrate Chanukkah, Pesach, Purm, Tisha b'Av, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkah, Simchas Torah, Shabbos, among many other Jewish holidays.
    • Re: Santeria and Holidays

      Wed, November 23, 2005 - 12:54 PM
      I should explain. My late husband was Jewish, although he had Obatala made. I keep the Jewish holidays out of respect for him and so his children know where they came from.
      • Re: Santeria and Holidays

        Wed, November 23, 2005 - 3:58 PM

        Thanks for explaining that Jackie :)

        I was wondering..... "HMMMMM, I know Jackie is from Cuba, maybe they have a Jewish faction there as well."

        Which was about to prompt me into a whole new discussion on Judaism and the caribbean. LOL.

        We have a sizeable community of Jews in Trinidad, and they did an exhibit at a local museum there, on the history of Jews in the caribbean. It was just down right interesting to see the many paths of Judaism in the last place on earth people would expect to find it.

        So I thought you were of the Cuban Jewish side (smile).

        I do think it is great that you are celebrating the Jewish holidays in the your late husband's honor, because that is such a gift to give to your children, so they will never forget.

        • Re: Santeria and Holidays

          Wed, November 23, 2005 - 4:09 PM
          My great-grandfather was a Portugese Jew from Madeira. Funny this should come up, cause I just wrote something about it.

          From my blog:

          One of my paternal great grand-fathers came from Madeira. His name was Rochard; Samuel Rochard. He was white Jew and he left Maderia late in the 19th century and went to live in Trinidad.

          There he met and married my great-grandmother, Gidique, a six foot jet black woman who had been born into slavery, but ‘emancipated’ as a child.

          It is said that my great grandfather had a good job working for a Jewish businessman, until one day someone made fun of his dark skinned wife, and he said, “That’s my wife… don’t disrespect her.” He was fired for it, and had to take another job working in a shop to keep his family.

          My grand-father, Eddie Matthew Rochard, disowned my father when he was born. Never claimed my father, but as the story goes when my grandmother, Marcelina Lord went to his family home and begged for assistance for my father, my grand-father was shouting and saying it wasn’t his child, and Samuel, my great-grandfather came outside and TOOK my father from my grandmother, looked him in the face and said, “This is my grandson.”

          Although my grandfather, NEVER did anything for my father, Samuel did. Samuel would come and take my father out for walks, bring him home to meet the rest of the family, help my grandmother financially when he could and all the other members of the Rochard family always, always accepted my father as family after that. They accept me too of course. In fact, my father’s brother Boysie is to date my favourite Uncle.

          Part of wanting to go to Madeira for me, is that I really want to go there and trace my great-grandfather’s lineage. Although I don’t inherit his Judaism, because that only comes down the matrilineal line, I know he must be recorded somewhere as being a Jew, and his family, and who they wore, where they lived, that is terribly interesting to me.

          For me, I want to know where this good man that was my great-grandfather came from. I want to walk there, and see if I can find where he was born, and if any of his people are still living there.

          See more progress on: Madeira

          • Re: Santeria and Holidays

            Thu, November 24, 2005 - 6:23 AM
            Cool history. You gotten love The caribbean and all facests of us.

            I never realized that Judaism comes down the matrilineal line?

            So if a child is born of a Jewish mother, but a non jewish man it will be jewish? But if it is born of a non jewish mother and jewish dad it wont be jewish?

            I am kinda confused. (That is nothing new). LOL

            Can someone explain this to me in kingergarden type terms, so I can grasp it.

            I have 2 Jewish best friends, and I like to be educated about these types of things, so when I am with them I can have a clue. LOL


            • Re: Santeria and Holidays

              Thu, November 24, 2005 - 8:09 AM
              Non jewish father, jewish mother= Jewish
              jewish father, non jewish mother= not Jewish, at least not by default

              kind of like how Scots tartans are maternal based- you get your tartan/ plaid from your mother's clan... unless your father's clan is more powerful... lol... but it should be the plaid you were born 'from the skirts of.'

              What it all probably comes down to is you couldn't prove fathership of a child (until recently....)- you can always tell who the mother is.

              • Re: Santeria and Holidays

                Fri, November 25, 2005 - 6:33 AM
                Thanks Jesse,

                So lets use Jackie' children for instance.

                Since their mother is not originally jewish, but their dad is.. that makes them non Jewish?

                What if Jackie's kids woke up one day and say I want to be recognized as an active practicing jew!

                Then what??

                Would they go over to the synogogue and be turned away only because Jackie is not Jewish, even though she has help to nurture and raise them in the traditions of their father?

                How would a situation like that be handled???

                • Re: Santeria and Holidays

                  Fri, November 25, 2005 - 9:06 AM
                  Reconstructionist and reform Jews consider patrineal lineage. Conservative is moving toward this as well. I was converted Orthodox before marriage, so both my children are Jews.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Santeria and Holidays

                    Fri, November 25, 2005 - 2:11 PM
                    Thanks for explaining this Jackie.

                    because I was over here having issues. LOL.

                    I was like how can Jackie's children be any less jewish because their mom is not.

                    But since the different jewish paths are accepting the patrilineal lineage, and you converted..... your kids are covered.

                    I feel better now :)

                    Translate the t-shirt saying please.


  • Re: Santeria and Holidays

    Thu, November 24, 2005 - 9:04 AM
    Hey GYUL!

    In Trinidad, as a part of an active ile, we did not partake in Xmas, but instead celebrated Kwanzaa. However, Trini has a strong undercurrent of Pan-Africanism and Black Nationalism running through the Orisha tradition. It is wholly part of the African consciousness movement in Trini. Part and parcel, and traditions like Kwanzaa are growing in Trinidad. I certainly enjoyed it, as I really am not a fan of Xmas at all.

    For me, my holidays are always centred around traditional Pan-African or Orisha holidays. Especially in the last several years. My mother bullies me into Christmas as often as she can, but when I am on my own it just rushes right past me.

    In Trinidad the majors celebrations are (outside Carnival business of course), Oya Day, Egungun Festival, Oshun Festival, Gelede, Emancipation Day, Kwanzaa and Spiritual Baptist Day.

    Spiritual Baptist Day is a public holiday and includes celebration in almost every Orisha, Shango Baptist, Spiritual Baptist, Shouter house across Trinidad. This is the day Orisha devotees, Spiritual Baptists proper, Shango Baptists and everything in between remember the persecution during the 1917 Shouter Prohibition Act illegalising ALL Shouter related activities in Triinidad and allowing the police to buss into people's palais, question and arrest any and everyone there.

    Full text of the Prohibition Act is here:

    BTW: Nalis has an excellent history and background of the Shouters in Trinidad:

    I Let me recommend STRONGLY Earl Lovelace's "The Wine of Astonishment"! He is a friend of my father's and I read this book without knowing that as a teenager in school. (If I'm not mistaken I think it was one of my CXC books.)

    It is an amazing tale of the Shouter community in Trinidad and how the colonial authorities terrorised them for 34 years. When I realised that he and my dad grew up together and such, I was amazed, because I realised so much of what I had read in that book was based on what really went down in Trinidad. My Dad was born and grew up during that period, and the area both he and Lovelace grew up in was a hotbed of Shouter activity. (It stil is, oui? I know what I saying...) Daddy kind of gave me some background how that story got told... it was really cool, because it is a wonderful, superbly written story.

    Shouter's Day has always been one of my favourite holidays in Trinidad's AMAZING collection of public holidays! (The have three or four in ONE MONTH! Man I remember two in one week once! HAHA! I love my country! Nobody cyan lime like we!)
    • Re: Santeria and Holidays

      Thu, November 24, 2005 - 7:52 PM
      Yes Gyal,

      I grew up in Trini as well, so I am quite familiar with all of these holidays.

      Being the true Trini that I am.... Daughter of a muslim father and Hindu mother, sister to a Lucumi practicing Yemoja, and best friends with a Jew.... LOL... ALL holidays mean something special to me.

      Although some holidays have a more religious or spiritual signifigance to me than others, I celebrate every holiday in the true TRINI sense of the word.

      I have great memories of growing in up in a such a diverse country.

      Xtian kids would come over to our house to help mommy light her Deyas for Diwali, and Hindus would come to eat at our house for Eid. Us muslim families would go by a neighbor's house to eat Xmas dinner (minus the x-mas ham and rum) cause it was the Trini thing to do. And noone thought twice about these mixed up social relationships.

      I think Trinidad is one of the few countries in the world where the Muslims celebrate Xmas, the Hindus celebrate Emancipation Day, Christians celebrate Eid Ul Fitr, and everyone regardless of creed, color, race, social and economic class or gender celebrates carnival.

      Since we do have so many national holidays to cover every religion and spiritual path that Trini has to offer, these holidays for trinis = free day off from work/school and an opportunity to lime (hang out with friends). I am glad we use our diversity to party and have a good time, instead of an opportunity to fight over religious differences.

      I love my country in every way!!!!

    • Re: Santeria and Holidays

      Fri, November 25, 2005 - 6:36 AM
      This was a really good documentation of Spiritual Baptists Traditions in Trinidad.

      I enjoyed the read and passed it on.

      • Re: Santeria and Holidays

        Fri, November 25, 2005 - 7:04 AM
        Yes I thought Nalis did a good job of giving some background on the Shouters. I just wish there was more information to find about Orisha in Trinidad. Although Maureen Warner Lewis' work on the Yoruba in Trinidad to be invaluable.
        • Re: Santeria and Holidays

          Fri, November 25, 2005 - 9:31 PM
          I did a search for Maureen Warner Lewis on amazon and she had a few books with Yoruba in the title.

          Can you give me the specific title of her work you were refering too, or where you just refering to all of her works in general.


          • Re: Santeria and Holidays

            Sat, November 26, 2005 - 12:13 AM
            Faizah, read everything ya can get cause the Sister is bright!

            But check out, "Trinidad Yoruba: From Mother Tongue to Memory" and "Yoruba Songs of Trinidad". She's written something else recently too, see if you can check out UWI Press.

            BTW: Frances Henry wrote something recently about Orisa and Spiritual Baptist traditions in Trinidad, check this one out definitely:

            "Reclaiming African Religions in Trinidad: The Socio-Political Legitimation of the Orisha and Spiritual Baptist Faiths"
            • Re: Santeria and Holidays

              Sat, November 26, 2005 - 7:22 AM
              Thanks girl for the info.

              I am in the process of making my Chrismahaunakwanzakaaeid-ul-adha list for gifts.

              All I want is an Ipod, so I can listen to Ella Andell as I move around, and Books, Books, and more Books!!

              So I will add these to my list.

  • Re: Santeria and Holidays

    Sun, November 27, 2005 - 1:36 AM
    I'm an eclectic pagan, so I have my eight regular holidays (Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, and Lugh) but I do celebrate Christmas (secularly) 'cause I love giving gifts and spending time with the family.

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