Tuesday, December 24, 2013

La Cachita Popular Devotion in Cuban Homes

The hospice and shrine built on the hill in the original location meanwhile fell into disrepair and a new sanctuary and hermitage was built in its place in the 1920’s.  “The Virgin of Charity of El Cobre is the Cuban analogue of Mexico's Guadalupe and of the Yoruban deity Ochún.  Popular Christianity and its stories of saints and miracles intersect with other traditions, notably African ones, to further account for this Virgin's allure (or repellence) to many. Although Afro-Cuban religious traditions such as Santería and Espiritismo de Cordón are distinct and ultimately autonomous, they interacted with and drew imagery and signification from the Catholic popular cult to the Virgin of El Cobre.” 

Shrines to Our Lady of El Cobre can be found in many Cuban homes in the United States.  The image of Our Lady dressed in regal attire is referred to by the nickname Cachita.  Cuban children are still frequently to appeal to La Cachita for protection, for mercy and help in difficult situations.  A holy card popular in the United States depicts Our Lady watching protectively over the three Juans at sea in their small boat.  In Cuba the devotion has survived despite political turmoil and anti-religious persecution of the communist government.