Santería săn˝tərē´ə, sän˝– [key], religion originating in W Africa, developed by Yoruba slaves in Cuba, and practiced by an estimated one million people in the United States. Blending African beliefs with those of Roman Catholicism, it fuses Christian saints with African deities (orishas). Rites are led by a priest or priestess, and reincarnation is a main belief. One of its most important rituals involves animal sacrifice, which was ruled a constitutional religious practice in a 1993 Supreme Court decision.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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