Let me preface this with, I’m far from any kind of expert on Santeria. My exposure to it is because as a Cuban, santeria was something that everyone knew about. Even my parents and grandparents, devout Catholics that they were, would do things that I later recognized as being tied to Santeria beliefs.
What kinds of things? Well, the first thing you saw in my house was the statue of the Virgencita de la Caridad.
Who’s that? you might ask. Caridad del Cobre was an apparition of the Virgin Mary in Cobre bay. Our Lady of Caridad (or Charity) is also the Patron Saint of Cuba and my patron saint.
Anyway, on special days, the parents and grandparents would leave sweets or bring flowers to the Virgencita, much like you see Ricardo doing in DEVOTION CALLS as a way to honor the beliefs of those people who think he is a santero. I think those actions were a natural blending of their Christian beliefs with those of the Afro-Cuban santeria religion that was practiced in Cuba.
What’s a santero? It’s someone who is a priest in the Santeria religion. Santeros learn their practices orally from another santero.
What’s Santeria? As I said, I’m no expert. I researched the subject for the book and included what I could from my personal experiences in visiting an occasional botanica in NY, NJ or Miami. We sometimes went to get a statue or medal of La Virgencita Caridad for a new baby or home as the Virgencita was always with us.
What’s a botanica? It’s a place where you can acquire religious objects and other things, including what you may need to practice Santeria.
For a little more on this, including some links to other sites that explain Santeria, you can visit the Ricardo’s Botanica page at the new site we are developing.