Lucumi Interview

For my site visit I conducted an interview with individuals familiar with Venezuelan Santaria which is formally called Lucumi. The couple had wanted to remain anonymous. As to how I got this interview I actually was fortunate enough to have a friend who had a friend who’s parents were familiar with Lucumi. You could say I got in through a back door to get my information.When I arrived to their home I was graciously let in and was greeted by everyone in the household. I could tell that my connection with my friend had certainly gained me a lot of acceptance. There was an atmosphere was warm and welcoming very much like a family. When we started the interview they where very open to questions and asked me where I would like to start. I had came prepared prior with selected questions, however I only ended up asking one question “ How does one become initiated?” which unraveled an entire tale of they themselves got initiated and what occurred. It was nearly effortless to have them speak because they were eager to share. When responding they made certain that the specific names of things being called those names because there was no other name for those items aside from what name it was originally given. Furthermore they explained as to who ( at least in Venezuela ) was most likely to join Santeria and they explained it was mostly those of the lower socio-economical class but occasionally people with high prestige. Power, and/or money join. I felt an urge to say Lucumi out of respect throughout the conversation yet that seemed perfectly fine with the term of Santeria and had in a way reclaimed the title. They did inform me though that if speaking with other members that I would have to use the formal naming because not everyone see’s eye to eye with that name. The particular branch they were in was Yuba. When speaking about their own initiation they injected humor into their story on the aspects which they understood would seem odd to me. When I listened to them I saw how at first one can mistake this religion as not so complex, but when they really got into explaining how certain tasks or rituals were to be performed with the planing and coordination that it takes to have this rituals done; even the process of ending the ceremony it is not simple whatsoever. When the interview came to an end and I was leaving, they thanked me and said it was wonderful to talk with someone. They had wanted me to know that they do’nt convert people that people have to seek to be a part of it and how if anything they want people to believe. It was an all around pleasant experience.

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