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Afro-American religion: Wikis


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Afro-American religions (also African diasporic religions) are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas among African slaves and their descendants in various countries of the Caribbean Islands and Latin America, as well as parts of the southern United States. They derive from African traditional religions, especially of West and Central Africa, showing similarities to the Yoruba religion in particular.



These religions usually involve ancestor veneration and/or a pantheon of divine spirits, such as the loas of Haitian Vodou, or the orishas of Santería. Similar divine spirits are also found in the Central and West African traditions from which they derive — the orishas of Yoruba cultures, the nkisi of Bantu (Kongo) traditions, and the Vodun of Dahomey (Benin), Togo, southern Ghana, and Burkina Faso. In addition to mixing these various but related African traditions, many Afro-American religions incorporate elements of Christian, indigenous American, Kardecist, Spiritualist and even Islamic traditions. This mixing of traditions is known as religious syncretism.

List of traditions

Afro-American Religions
Religion Developed in* Ancestral Roots Also practiced in Remarks
Candomblé Brazil Yoruba Some elements of Dahomey Vodun (deities) and Kongo nkisi. Also called Batuque.
Umbanda Brazil Yoruba (mainly) Uruguay, Argentina
Syncretism. Mixed the Yoruba's deities (Orishas) with the Bantu's veneration of ancestral spirits (Preto Velho), indigenous elements (Caboclos and Caciques), Allan Kardec's Spiritism and Catholicism. Founded in the early 20th century.
Quimbanda Brazil Kongo
Brazilian Shamanism
Uruguay Veneration of ancestral spirits called Exu and Pomba Gira
Santería Cuba Yoruba Puerto Rico, USA Catholicism Syncretism
Regla de Arará Cuba Dahomey    
Regla de Palo Cuba Kongo nkisi Puerto Rico, USA Also called Palo Mayombe,
Regla de Congo, Palo Monte
Vodou Haiti, Brazil Dahomey mythology Cuba, Dominican Republic, USA  
Obeah Jamaica Kongo, Dahomey Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas Similar to Hoodoo
Winti Suriname    
Kumina Jamaica Kongo  
Spiritual Baptist Trinidad and Tobago Yoruba Jamaica, USA Protestantism Syncretism, since the early 19th century
Hoodoo Southern USA Kongo, Dahomey, Togo USA  
Abakua Cuba Ekpe   society of the Annang, Efik, Ibibio, Ekoi and Igbo .

* "Developed in" as indicated in the chart does not refer to the religions' indigenous origins within continental Africa. It refers only to their development in the New World.

Other closely related regional faiths include:

New religious movements

Some syncretic new religious movements have elements of these African religions, but are predominantly rooted in other spiritual traditions. A first wave of such movements originated in the early twentieth century:

A second wave of new movements originated in the 1960s to 1970s, in the context of the emergence of New Age and Neopaganism in the United States:

See also




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