Orisha Diety

Word of the Week: Orisha

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Shouter Baptist Religion in Trinidad and Tobago

Orisha (n):  An African religion, mostly of Yoruba origin, known also as SHANGO, based on the worship of numerous ORISHA (deities), who also have Catholic counterparts.  Worship includes spirit possession, drumming, dancing, chanting, and animal sacrifice. Severely represses at times during the past, it has survived, and is now more openly accepted (Yoruba orisha ‘diety’) = African work, Shango.

Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago there was a lot mystery surrounding the Orisha religions especially Shango “Spiritual” Baptist. You were always intrigued by the potential for animal sacrifice and what these adults were doing in the cloak of darkness.

Shouter Baptist is a Christian-based religion that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the late 19th century. A group of Africans founded the religion brought to the country as enslaved people and forced them to adopt Christianity. Steelbands as well was tamboo bamboo bands had a deep connection, in terms of musical influence with Orisha centres in East Dry River (Stuempfle 1995:39)

However, they blended their African spiritual beliefs with Christianity to create a unique form of worship that emphasized singing, dancing, and shouting to connect with God.

History of Shouter Baptist in Trinidad and Tobago

The colonial government banned the Shouter Baptist religion in 1917, but it continued to thrive underground. Devotees of the Orisha or the Rada faiths were often imprisoned and even flogged under an 1868 law –Convictions Ordinance 1868 – which made the practice of ‘Obeah’ a criminal offence. (Brereton 1993:50). In Trinidad, March 30 is Spiritual Baptist Liberation day because it celebrates the repeal of the “Shouter Prohibition Ordinance”. The ban was lifted in 1951, and since then, the faith has grown in popularity and influence in Trinidad and Tobago. Shouter Baptist churches can be found throughout the country, and their services are characterized by lively music, ecstatic dancing, and fervent prayer.

Shouter Ordinance
First Page of Shouter Prohibition Ordinance

Significance of Shouter Baptist in Trinidad and Tobago

Shouter Baptist is a religion with deep roots in Trinidad and Tobago, and it is an essential part of the country’s cultural heritage. It is a religion that represents the resilience of the enslaved Africans brought to the country and their determination to maintain their spiritual beliefs in the face of oppression. Today, the Shouter Baptist religion is an integral part of Trinidadian and Tobagonian culture, and its music and dance have influenced the country’s music and art.

In 1980, Super Blue formerly known as Blue Boy won Road-March for his song “Soca-Baptist”.


The Orisha and Shouter Baptist religions are two of the many cultural traditions that make Trinidad and Tobago a unique and fascinating place. Both faiths have survived centuries of colonial oppression and continue to thrive as a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian people. Whether you are a believer or simply a curious visitor, these religions offer a fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this beautiful Caribbean nation.

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Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer.

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