The Cult of the Profane

Kenneth Routon

in Hidden Powers of State in the Cuban Imagination

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034836
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038858 | DOI:
The Cult of the Profane

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This chapter focuses on the “spirits who like rumba,” as described by one Cuban, and the theater of spirit-possession staged in their honor in late-socialist Cuba. The chapter refers to a little-known Cuban spirit-possession ceremony called the rumba del cajón al muerto, or “box-drum rumba for the dead.” The cajón ceremonies, which are privately arranged, financed, and hosted by individual families or households, exist independently of the various popular religions practiced on the island. They combine the secular rhythmic styles of Cuban rumba with spirituals in praise of various classes or “commissions” of the dead—“wild” Indians (indios bravos), “black nations” (negros de nacion), Moro gypsies, etc.

Keywords: spirit-possession; socialist Cuba; cajón ceremony; rumba; transatlantic cosmology; Creole

Chapter.  13367 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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