African diaspora religions

African diaspora religions, also described as Afro-American religions, are a number of related beliefs that developed in the Americas in various nations of the Caribbean, Latin America and the Southern United States. They derive from traditional African religions with some influence from other religious traditions, notably Christianity and Islam.

Example of Louisiana Voodoo altar inside a temple in New Orleans.


Afro-American religions involve ancestor veneration and include a creator deity along with a pantheon of divine spirits such as the Orisha, Loa, Vodun, Nkisi and Alusi, among others. In addition to the religious syncretism of these various African traditions, many also incorporate elements of Folk Catholicism including folk saints and other forms of Folk religion, Native American religion, Spiritism, Spiritualism, Shamanism (sometimes including the use of Entheogens) and European folklore.

Various "doctoring" spiritual traditions also exist such as Obeah and Hoodoo which focus on spiritual health.[1] African religious traditions in the Americas can vary. They can have non-prominent African roots or can be almost wholly African in nature, such as religions like Trinidad Orisha.[2]

African diaspora religions in the present

The nature and composition of the African diaspora have undergone significant changes over time: from the forced migration of African captives of the Old and New Worlds to the voluntary emigration of free, skilled Africans in search of political asylum or economic opportunities; from a diaspora with little contact with the point of origin (Africa) to one that maintains active contact with the mother continent; all culminating in the birth of a unique African who straddles continents, worlds and cultures.

Defining diasporas

There are several conceptual difficulties in defining the African diaspora—indeed, in defining the term diaspora. Contemporary theorizations of the term diaspora tend to be preoccupied with problematizing the relationship between diaspora and nation and the dualities or multiplicities of diasporic identity or subjectivity; they are inclined to be condemnatory or celebratory of transnational mobility and hybridity. In many cases, the term diaspora is used in a fuzzy, ahistorical and uncritical manner in which all manner of movements and migrations between countries and even within countries are included and no adequate attention is paid to the historical conditions and experiences that produce diasporic communities and consciousness—how dispersed populations become self-conscious diaspora communities.[3]

List of religions and spiritual traditions



Dugu Obeah




  • Montamentu

Dominican Republic

  • Dominican Vudú


  • Big Drum Dance (Gwa Tambu)

Guatemala (Garifuna)

  • Dugu




  • Dugu


  • Dugu


Puerto Rico

  • Sansé Espiritismo

Saint Lucia

  • Kélé


The Bahamas

Trinidad and Tobago

United States


See also


  1. Eltis, David; Richardson, David (1997). Routes to slavery: direction, ethnicity, and mortality in the transatlantic slave trade. Routledge. p. 88. ISBN 0-7146-4820-5.
  2. Houk, James (1995). Spirits, Blood, and Drums: The Orisha Religion in Trinidad. Temple University Press. ISBN 1566393507.
  3. "African Diaspora |". Retrieved 2020-11-04.
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