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A rare look inside an Afro-Cuban ritual sacrifice
Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

The cultures of Cuba's many African descendents run deep across the island. They blend with the country's traditional Roman Catholic practices to create vibrant mixtures. Photographer Jan Sochor captures the ritual scenes here in Santiago de Cuba and Havana.

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A young man wears a blindfold in an initiation ritual.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A Cuban woman sells natural objects, including seashells and feathers, that have mystical qualities according to Afro-Cuban spirituality.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A Palo priest sits in his home temple and prepares for a ritual.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A believer draws a symbol on the temple floor that's considered the key to release spiritual powers linked to the altars.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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Drawings on the walls of the African heritage center in Santiago, Cuba, portray spiritual traditions carried over by African slaves to the island.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A goat is adorned and prepared for sacrifice.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A Palo Monte priest, wearing a typical red and white bracelet, in Havana.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A Palo priest sacrifices a goat during a ritual in Santiago de Cuba.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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The altar, known as "la prenda" or "el caldero," is filled with objects deemed magical.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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Many spiritual customs in Cuba fuse Catholic and African elements. Here a cross is carried during the Palo worship.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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Palo religious signs and symbols are painted on the wall in Callejon de Hamel in Havana, Cuba.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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A believer must wear a red blindfold through part of his initiation ritual, in Santiago de Cuba.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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The Palo altar displays Catholic statuettes alongside other sacred Afro-Cuban objects.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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Vibrant Afro-Cuban motifs are painted on the facades of homes in Santiago de Cuba.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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This slaughtered pig went to a religious ritual in Santiago de Cuba.

(Jan Sochor - GlobalPost)
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It's a lovely thing when shared traditions unite so many different people.
Organizers will now submit their claim for a new record to Guinness World Records, which is expected to rule on it within two months.