Santería rites to mark Fidel's 82nd year - Printable Version
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Santería rites to mark Fidel's 82nd year - Weyland - 08-17-2008
In Havana on Wednesday, as many as 50 Yoruba priests will sacrifice animals and beat drums at 2 a.m., the time of Fidel Castro's birth 82 years ago. The celebrants will also plant a ceiba tree (Ceiba pentandra, or kapok tree) in the town of Bahía in honor of the revolutionary leader. One of the priests told the Reuters news agency that the ceremony was requested by "Havana authorities" in the hope that it will bring "health and long life to the Comandante." Brought to Cuba by African slaves during colonial times, the Yoruba religion is widespread in Cuba. Castro was born on Aug. 13, 1926, in Birán, near Mayarí, in the eastern region then called Oriente; today, Mayarí is in Holguín province. [UPDATE: On Wednesday, the town of Birán will be declared a "national monument," the ANSA news agency reported.]
---Renato Pérez Pizarro.