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Religion Library: Afro-Caribbean
FormedLate 18th century
Adherents3,000,000
DeityVarious nature spirits
Sacred TextOral, ritual
OriginCaribbean islands
HeadquartersNone

Indigenous Afro-Caribbean Religions are those traditions that have combined beliefs and practices initially brought to the Caribbean by African slaves with other religious beliefs and practices native to the islands. The best known of these religious traditions is Voodoo, which is commonly practiced in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as outside of the Caribbean by immigrant populations. Voodoo is a blend of Roman Catholic rituals and theological and magical elements from indigenous African religions. Followers of Voodoo profess belief in a supreme god, but they also have many other highly active divinities (called loa) including African gods, local leaders and deified ancestors, as well as Catholic saints. Voodoo priests oversee a variety of rituals and ceremonies, including song, dance, prayer, divination, healings, and animal sacrifice. Another prominent indigenous Afro-Caribbean religion is Rastafarianism, which is most popular on the island of Jamaica among the black Jamaicans. Centering their worship on Haile Selassie I, former Emperor of Ethiopia who is believed to be divine, adherents of Rastafarianism believe blacks are the reincarnated Israelites whom God will eventually restore to Africa where they will be served by whites. A Rastafarianism lifestyle often includes a vegetarian diet, dreadlock hair, and the smoking of ganja (marijuana). Other Afro-Caribbean religions include Shango in Grenada and Trinidad, Santeria in Cuba, and the Convince and Cumina cults in Jamaica.


Yasus Afari explains what it means to be a Rastafarian in today's world.
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