ACCR: Santa Barbara 2016

November 30 – December 7, 2016

Afro-Cuban Cultures and Religions:
Santa Bárbara/ Changó Festival
November 30 – December 7, 2016

About the Trip

Dr. Cynthia Duncan, Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at the University of Washington in Tacoma, will guide you on a unique journey through the history and contributions of Afro-Cuban Cultures and Religions to Cuba in collaboration with La Universidad de Cienfuegos (UCf), Sociedad El Cristo, Sociedad Santa Bárbara, Sociedad San Roque and the Casino de los Congos “San Antonio de Padua.”

This carefully designed series of workshops and guided events to be held in two cities over eight days/seven nights will bring to life an intensive combination of academic and practical learning. The program culminates with active participation in the Festival of Santa Bárbara/ Changó, an important community event with a 100-year old history in Palmira. Join members of the Afro-Cuban cabildos in the procession and preparation of the altars and offerings to the orichas.

Through a series of workshops held at La Universidad de Cienfuegos and at the societies, you will embark on an exciting educational and cultural experience that is not offered elsewhere. The Festival of Santa Bárbara/ Changó represents one of the most authentic folk celebrations in Cuba and you’ll have an opportunity to participate side by side with members of the community.

On your journey, you will:

  • Engage directly with practitioners of the Afro-Cuban religions and members of the religious community
  • Interact with members of the historical Lucumi religious associations to share ideas on religion and hopefully establish long lasting ties
  • Interact with academic specialists in Afro-Cuban culture, religion and history at UCf
  • Learn the history of cabildos and religious associations in Palmira; learn about key figures in the development of the religion in the province of Cienfuegos
  • Attend religious Lucumi religious ceremonies and tributes to the Orishas (e.g., Piñata and Tambor)
  • Learn about Lucumi songs, drumming and dancing in their historical, religious and social context
  • Learn about the role herbs play in Lucumi rituals and their holistic medicinal value
  • Learn to prepare traditional adimús (ceremonial food) for the Orishas
  • See demonstrations of beadwork, ceremonial clothing, and other artisan work related to Orisha worship
  • Participate in the festival of Santa Bárbara/Chango in Palmira.

This trip is open to everyone with a strong interest in Lucumí religion and culture, as well as people with an interest in Latin American Studies, African American Studies, Cuban Studies, Religious Studies, and Comparative Religions.

Many of the activities are in Spanish but translators will be available.

This is a people-to-people trip covered under general license as per 31 CFR §515.565(b) the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Civitas Global Educational Services is a licensed provider of people-to-people travel. (License No. CT-2014-312375-1)

If you are interested in taking this trip for-credit or incorporating it into your academic program, contact us at

Santa Bárbara/ Changó Festival Itinerary

Experience the Music, dance and workshops
of Cienfuegos’ rich history. Keep up to date with
all the activities right here and check for updates.



See the beautiful religious syncretism of Cuba’s
Afro-Cuban Culture and Religions first hand.

Register Online Now

Want to learn even more
about Afro-Cuban Cultures and Religions?

Check out Professor Duncan’s blog, to learn more about the history and significance of the Lucumí religion.