Orishas and Their Tools
Learn about the traditional tools and toolsets used by the Orishas, the spirits in the Yoruba religion, in their rituals and offerings.
Maracas are commonly used in many Afro-Caribbean religions, including Santeria and other West African religions, as a musical instrument and a tool for spiritual communication.
In Santeria, maracas are known as ashere or chekeres and are often used in religious ceremonies to summon or communicate with the Orishas, which are the deities of the religion. The maracas are usually made from dried gourds with beads or seeds attached to the outside, and they are played by shaking them in a specific rhythm.
During Santeria ceremonies, the maracas are played by the priest or priestess, who will often use them to evoke a specific Orisha or to signal the start of a ritual. The rhythm of the maracas is also important in Santeria, as it is believed to help create a trance-like state that allows participants to communicate with the Orishas.
In other West African religions, such as Vodou and Candomble, maracas are also commonly used in religious ceremonies. They may be used to summon spirits or to create a particular atmosphere during a ritual. The specific use and meaning of maracas can vary depending on the religion and the particular ceremony being performed.