West African religions came to Brazil with the enslaved Africans believing in deities or orishas. Each orisha is endowed with its own personality and unique powers, and was associated with a particular set of natural elements. The Portuguese however, insisted that all new arrivals be forcibly converted to Catholicism. The struggle gave rise to Candomble, a blending of Catholicism and the African beliefs.
Orisha are guardian spirits. The Lucumi Yoruba believe in one Higher Power. They call him Olodumare. They believe that each person has a Guardian Spirit called an “Orisha”. Orisha are aspects of the Supreme Being that are manifested as forces of nature. When Yoruba slaves were brought to the New World they brought their beliefs with them. This belief system is known as Lukumi in Cuba, and Puerto Rico, though it is often referred to as “Santeria”. These beliefs are known as Candomble in Brazil, and Shango Baptist in Trinidad.
Necklaces (Ilekes) every color is known to denote a specific orisha.
Ogún is the god of iron, war and labor. He colors are green and black.
Obatalá is the kindly father of all the orishas and all humanity. His color is white.
Oyá is the ruler of the winds, the whirlwind and the gates of the cemetery. She is also known for the color of maroon.
Oshún rules over the sweet waters of the world, the brooks, streams and rivers, embodying love, fertility. She also is the one we most often approach to aid us in money matters. She is the youngest of the female orishas but retains the title of Iyalode or great queen. She recognizes herself in the colors yellow and gold.
Yemayá lives and rules over the seas and lakes. She also rules over maternity in our lives as she is the Mother of All. Her colors are blue and white, and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children.
Shangó perhaps the most ‘popular’ of the orishas, Shangó rules over lightning, thunder, fire, the drums and dance. He is a warrior orisha with quick wits, quick temper and is the epitome of virility. His colors are red and white.
Source: weba-music.org and OrishNet.org
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Theresa Noni Charles, Cultural Travel Enthusiast. Educator. Explorer.