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  • Marianela de Armas

St. Barbara's Feast Day

When African slaves arrived in Cuba, they found a friend in St. Barbara. She was the perfect cover for their most revered and powerful deity, Chango. The god of thunder and dance and war and, well, all things that relate to testosterone. How did this ultra-macho guy end up being associated with a woman? Among the many stories of the life of Chango is a curios tale of cross-dressing, when he had to dress like a woman to escape a mob that was trying to kill him. I imagine a clueless (and ruthless) Spanish priest lecturing a group of men from Yoruba (behind a pointed gun) about the martyrdom of St. Barbara, thinking he had performed the miracle of conversion, when in reality the guys had found their Chango in drag.


Read more about Santa Barbara, the city and the saint, here.