Orisha (1)

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Topic : Orisha
Definition Of Orisha :
Trinidad Orisha, also known as shango, is a syncretic
religion of West Africa and Caribbean origin, influenced
by Roman Catholic Christianity
What Trinidad Orisha
Trinidad Orisha incorporates elements of Spiritual Baptism, and the
closeness between Orisha and Spiritual Baptism has led to use of the
term "Shango Baptist" to refer to members of either or both religions.
Anthropologist James Houk described Trinidad Orisha as an "AfroAmerican religious complex, "incorporating elements of West African
religion, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, and Trinidad Kabbalah
(an esoteric practice deriving from European mysticism).
Trinidad Orisha is derived from West
African Yoruba and Dahomean culture, similar to Santeria in Cuba and
Candomble in Brazil. Practice of the Trinidad Orisha religion is vibrant
in Trinidad and in New York City, where there are significant numbers of
Trinidadian immigrants.
Trinidad Orisha practices
Trinidad Orisha practice involves call and response
singing accompanied by a trio of drums. Orisha drums
are double-headed bi tensorial cylinders derived from
Yoruba bembe drums (similar to the
Cuban Iyesá drums). The drum that is lowest in pitch
is called the bo or kongo. The lead drum is called
"center drum," "big drum," or bembe. The smallest
drum, highest in pitch, is called umele. The first two
drums are played with a single stick plus hand
combination, while the umele is played with a pair of
sticks. All of the sticks are curved at the end, and
resemble a shepherd's crook. The language of the
songs has been referred to as “Trinidad Yoruba” and is
derived from the West African Yoruba language.
Practitioners of the Yoruba Religion, which was developed among the Yoruba people of
Nigeria and Benin, believe that before we are born we stand before God and choose
our own destiny. We decide before we ever arrive on earth what we will contribute to
the world, where we will live, who we will love, and even the day we will die. However
when we are born into the world all of our plans and promises are forgotten and so
our destiny in effect becomes to remember and claim the destiny we mapped out for
ourselves before our arrival in this life. So who exactly is God? The Yoruba call Him (or
more correctly “it” because God is much to all-powerful to be limited by gender)
Olódùmarè. The Supreme deity of the Yoruba, Olódùmarè lives in the sky and much
like Brahman of Hinduism, is much more respected than He is ever actually
approached by worshipers. Olódùmarè is a distant god and when it comes to day to
day prayers, things are much more commonly handled by intercessors called Orisha.
The seventh annual Rain Festival, organised by Ile Eko Sango/ Osun Mil’osa (IESOM)
takes place at the Shrine Gardens, Upper Gasparillo Road (off La Sargesse Road), Santa
Cruz, from June 9 to 11.
Ile Eko Sango/Osun Mil’osa is a spiritual community comprising Trinidadians and
Tobagonians who have come together to reconstruct our spiritual world view, which
helps us to come to terms with our divine self and purpose.
IESOM meets regularly for worship on its holy days, which is every five, nine, 17 and
every 91st day when we celebrate our festivals.
IESOM takes an active role in children and adult programmes and as such founded the
Osun Abiadama Secondary School in Port-of-Spain. Osun Abiadama is the only Orisha
secondary school that teaches Ifa scriptures and African history in T&T. A release from
IESOM states, “the Rain Festival brings people together to celebrate rebirth,
commitment, understanding and responsibility in a physical and spiritual sense.
Observation of the rain cycle will emphasise the importance and sacredness of the
“The commencement of the rain cycle is an occasion for reflection,
thanksgiving, cleansing and preparation. It also signals the annual cultivation of
lands and the inundation of the rivers, which brings the necessary alluvial
deposits for riverbanks and seashores among many other things.
“The Holy Rain Festival is primarily to ask for the blessings of the deities. The
rain is analogous to Sango’s semen; the Earth is considered the womb. The rain
or semen impregnates the Earth making it bountiful as it provides water, food,
shelter, beauty and happiness.
“The earth’s resources contribute immensely to our national well-being and
that of the Universe as a whole. We all eagerly look forward to the coming of
the rain, but we must also propitiate the deity so we will not suffer some of
the experiences of yester year.”
The release continues, “the objective of this festival is to sensitise the nation
about the environment and how we as citizens are fundamental to its
existence. The festival also showcases the spiritual world view and theology of
our ancestors and how these are related to the environment for daily survival.
“More importantly, over the last six years, this festival has brought together
the young people of our nation and the region, of different religious and
cultural persuasion in harmony and respect.”
Gods Of Orisha

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