The Cuban Legend of the Owl and the Sijú Essay

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The Owl and the Sijú

The legend of "La lechuza y el sijú" ("The Owl and the Sijú") is a popular and old Cuban legend. I collected this legend on March 17th, when I first talked to Denise Corte, my co-worker at my campus job, about this particular class assignment. She is a Brazilian doctoral student whose thesis is based on a Cuban theater group. She traveled to Cuba to follow this theater group that primarily focuses their plays on Cuban legends. When she heard about my assignment she was enthusiastic, as her dissertation is based on the exploration of Cuban legends. She generously told me about a legend that she had included in her own work, concerning an owl and a sijú, a nocturnal bird native to Cuba. This legend was told to her in
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Since then, concludes the legend, on the tree of eternal truths-which to liars is no different than any other tree-the princess, converted into an owl, watches over the night and the sijú, her lover, whistles to let her know that he is back.

Ms. Corte told me this legend is important in the context of the religion of Santeria, which I explored further in research. This legend is part of the Cuban religion known as Santeria, which means "the way of the Saints." This religion formed in Cuba when West Africans were transported to Cuba as slaves. They combined their African religion with Catholicism, forming Santeria. This religion focuses on spirits (Ayorinde). The Santeria religion is based on beliefs that "there are forces of nature (or parts of God) who deal with the affairs of men on earth, and the governing of the universe in general" (Brown). Furthermore, the Santeria religion relies heavily on different classes of being in order for humans to enhance their health, life, and fortune (Clark). Cubans use legends such as "The Owl and the Sijú" to show how humans, nature, and the spirit world are all linked to each other. This legend can help outsiders gain a better understanding of the Santeria religion and its meaning.

The main theme of the legend of "The Owl and the Sijú," is eternal love. The legend shows that despite the passing of time and the transformation

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