Gratitude connects us to the Orishas, connects us to life: To express gratitude is to consciously appreciate and celebrate the blessings of this beautiful world created for us. To express gratitude for the gift of all the richness life brings is to fully celebrate life.
Ebo, or sacrifice, is the way we in Santeria celebrate and embrace this idea: it’s how we serve and show our gratitude to God, our ancestors and the Orishas.
Ebo takes many forms: some “sacrifices” are as colorful and wonderful as full parties thrown in honor of the Orishas (a bembe or tambour) featuring scrumptious delicacies prepared and shared especially in honor of the Orisha, sacred ritual drumming, singing and dancing—in fact, the Orishas will often “come down” and “mount” one or more of their children physically through the awesome power of trance possession so They can dance, laugh, advise, eat with and bless their children—fully accepting and enjoying their sacrifice in the process.
Other Eboses (the plural of ebo) are simpler, made weekly or when requested by an Orisha through divination, and with the tastes and sacred attributes of the Orisha receiving in mind. A few pieces of fresh fruit, a special beverage (good old rum, most often, or simply cool water), a good cigar, some honey in a dish: these are a few of the many offerings which may be given to an Orisha.
But the Orishas are not, to the chagrin of some, vegetarian. The infrequent sacrifice of eje (ritually offered animal blood—most commonly that of a rooster or hen) is a concept that can be speculated upon, argued about, and politicized forever, but it is a concept, and an act, that the Western mind has to experience to even begin to understand.
Most commonly, those new to Santeria quickly find that their apprehension turns to respect and reverence when they participate in the ritual. Only highly initiated Santeras, Santeros, Oriates and Babalawos may shed blood. The animals are very well treated—they are considered sacred to the Orishas, and cruelty would be an affront. Great pains are taken therefore that the act itself is quick and as painless as possible. And when one considers that one’s fried chicken dinner didn’t grow on a fried chicken tree…
The ritual offering of blood is a tradition that stretches back to the beginning of religion itself (the concept of Kosher, for instance, is a form of blood sacrifice that still takes place), and feeding eje to the Orishas is an important part of our living tradition today.http://www.houseofifa.com/showpage.p...n=&content=Ebo