Graveyard Shift

11 Macabre And Fascinating Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Santeria Religion

Most people probably only know Santeria from the Sublime song of the same name, but it's more than just a song lyric. What is Santeria? Sometimes called Regla de Ocha, it's a religion that millions of people practice throughout Mexico, Panama, the US, Cuba, and the Caribbean. It combines elements of Roman Catholicism with African Yoruba mythology and Indigenous American traditions, and it grew out of the slave trade during the Spanish Empire.

The need for secrecy during colonial times and again during Castro's Marxist revolution in Cuba prevented any formal central creed from developing; instead, Santeros and Santeras are joined by the practice of common rituals and ceremonies, many of which outsiders find disturbing. Unlike other lesser-known religions that are considered bizarre, or mystical hexes that need to be broken, Santeria is recognized around the world - even by the US Supreme Court.

There are likely plenty of interesting things you didn't know about Santeria - despite having a bad reputation, Santeria rituals are fascinating, somewhat mystical, and often misunderstood.