Afro-American religion

Afro-American religion

Example of Louisiana-Tradition Voodoo altar inside a temple in New Orleans.

Afro-American religions (also known as African diasporic religions or New World traditions) are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas among enslaved Africans in various countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, and parts of the southern United States. They derive from African traditional religions (especially of West and Central Africa) and Indigenous American traditions and beliefs.


  • Characteristics 1
  • List of traditions 2
  • New religious movements 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


These religions involve ancestor veneration and a pantheon of divine spirits, such as the Orisha, loa, Nkisi, and Alusi. In addition to mixing these various African traditions, many New World religions incorporate elements of Christian, Indigenous American, Kardecist, Spiritualist, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Judaic, and European traditions. This mixing of traditions is known as religious syncretism.

List of traditions

Afro-American Religions
Religion Location Ancestral roots Also practiced in Remarks
Candomblé Brazil Yoruba Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States Some elements of Dahomey Vodun, Kongo nkisi, Indigenous American beliefs, and Roman Catholicism.
Umbanda Brazil Yoruba Argentina, Uruguay, United States
Mixture of Yoruba Orisha with the veneration of Bantu's ancestral spirits (Preto Velho) and Indigenous American's ancestral spirits (Caboclos and Caciques), Spiritism, and Roman Catholic syncretism.
Quimbanda Brazil Kongo Argentina, Uruguay, United States Veneration of spirits called Exu and Pomba Gira.
Santería Cuba Yoruba Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela Indigenous American and Roman Catholic syncretism.
Regla de Arará Cuba Fon, Ewe Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, United States  
Regla de Palo Cuba[1] Kongo Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, United States Also called Las Reglas del Congo.
Abakua Cuba Ekpe   society of the Annang, Efik, Ibibio, Ekoi, and Igbo.
Dominican Vudú Dominican Republic Fon, Ewe, Yoruba, Kongo United States
Haitian Vodou Haiti Fon, Ewe Canada, Dominican Republic, United States  
Obeah Jamaica Igbo, Akan Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands, United States Similar to Hoodoo folk magic. Derives from the Igbo 'obia' (or dibia, Igbo: doctoring) traditions.[2]
Kumina Jamaica Kongo United States
Winti Suriname Akan Guyana, United States
Spiritual Baptist Trinidad and Tobago Yoruba Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Jamaica, United States Protestantism syncretism.
Orisha Trinidad and Tobago Yoruba United States Catholicism syncretism.[3]
Louisiana Voodoo Southern United States Fon, Ewe United States

Other closely related regional faiths include:

New religious movements

Most new religious movements are void of these traditional pre-Abrahamic African beliefs. 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


  1. ^ For an extended discussion on Palo's history, see: Dodson, Jualynne E. (2008). Sacred spaces and Religious Traditions in Oriente Cuba. UNM Press.
  2. ^ Eltis, David; Richardson, David (1997). Routes to slavery: direction, ethnicity, and mortality in the transatlantic slave trade. Routledge. p. 88.  
  3. ^ Houk, James (1995). Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion in Trinidad. Temple University Press. 
  4. ^ Xango de Recife

External links

  • Roots and Rooted