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Afro-Caribbean Mutualism

As the earth rotates about it’s axis so do human race of different ethnic groups migrate from one region to another. The integration of people who migrated from the Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean gave rise to Afro-Caribbean sobriquet Africa Caribbean. Afro-Caribbeans are resident people in Caribbean who trace their full or partial ancestry to Africa. Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Africans were taken as slaves to the colonial Caribbean via the trans-Atlantic slave trade to work primarily on various sugar plantations and in domestic households. Presently, Majority of the Afro-Caribbeans are the descendants of these slaves. The Americans were the first to use such word “Afro-Caribbean” in the late 1960s though it was coined by the West Indians. The interaction in the Caribbean can be seen in the culture, religion, trades, marriages and so on.

Culture: This summarises their way of living. It shows their symbol, food, art, music, carnival, sports etc. They are known to have multicultural heritage known in different islands. The cultural norm was multiculturalism and what unites these communities was the diversity in their culture. Although, it is known officially that one in a four of the Caribbean population is English- speaking, the largest linguist group comprised of the Spanish speakers. 22% are of the French-speaking while 1% is of the Dutch. The Caribbean today features 59 living languages. The parrot, palm and shell are known to be the official symbol of the Caribbean. They have taken it up even in their flags. Their carnival are usually celebrated during Ash Wednesday or the days leading up to Lent.

Religion: Afro-Caribbean has so many religions. Dating from history, during the 15th through 19th centuries, the Caribbean basin was highly sought by nations of Europe – British Isles, Holland, France Spain- and the Americas to have control of it. The European colonised regions which include Cuba, Curacao, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad and many smaller islands. In addition to enslaving the native population, the colonisers brought slaves to the region to provide labour on tobacco and sugar plantations and also sought to influence their religion –christianity- on them. The African slaves also coming with their religions have to hold unto such practices. It is extremely difficult to determine how many actively practice Afro-Caribbean religions, also known as African Diasporic Religious Traditions. Although there are specific beliefs unique to each Afro-Caribbean religious tradition, they share a common worldview. Afro-Caribbean religions teach that the Supreme Being and spirits are interdependent and do not live in a world apart from humanity. Rather, the material and spiritual worlds are inseparable from one another. Humans and other natural objects are believed to be both natural and divine—participating in and influencing the spiritual world. As a result, a major focus of concern for many believers is how to access various kinds of spiritual power in order to wake up to one’s divinity in order to manifest one’s destiny and live with purpose. Many of these religions accept the world as it is, though they believe that the world can be made better and that the situations of individual people and groups can be improved (religions with different overall philosophies include Rastafari and Revivalism, among others). Although most Afro-Caribbean religions believe in reincarnation, the emphasis is not on future lives but rather on personal and communal fulfillment in the present life. For their adherents, then, religion is the resource for dealing successfully with the physical, social, psychological, familial, spiritual, and financial obstacles they experience in life. These problems may be overcome through rituals that make use of the powers that are available in the natural world and in the various spirits they worship. Major Afro-Caribbean traditions include Candomblé, Santeria, and Lukumi (collectively referred to as the Orisa or Orisha traditions), Palo Mayombe, Vodoun, Rastafarianism, and Revivalism.

Marriage: Marriage customs among Afro-Caribbeans are usually governed more by culture than by religious dictates. In many Afro-Caribbean cultures guests are rarely invited by notification cards rather they chose to continue the with oral information. One common aspect of Afro-Caribbean weddings is black cake, a cake made with dried fruit that has been soaked in rum. People in Afro-Caribbean households generally choose who to marry, although parental approval, especially from the mother, is still valued. Afro-Caribbeans today are likely to marry at a later age than their parents did, and increasingly have smaller families with one or two children instead of larger families that include many children and extended family who play a prominent role in the family structure. Practitioners of Santeria may have wedding ceremonies that include rituals, prayers, and offerings to orishas (spirits). Some practitioners of Santeria may be licensed by the state to perform marriages, but this is not common, and in most cases a couple has a civil ceremony or a Catholic ceremony in church. In Haitian Vodoun, practitioners may choose to marry a spirit (lwa) instead of, or in addition to, another person. Marriages to spirits involve rituals such as singing, dancing, and praying in order to coax the spirit to materialize.

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