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Photo Package: Cubans honor Saint Barbara

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December 5, 2012 09:21 PM EST | AP

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BAHIA HONDA, Cuba — Cubans paid tribute to Saint Barbara and the Santeria deity Chango on Wednesday with offerings of flowers, fruit, burning candles, drumming and animal sacrifices.

Chango is the orisha – spirit or deity in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria – of lightning, fire and war, and is associated with Saint Barbara.

Believers hold ceremonies for "protection" from evil on Saint Barbara's feast day, which is held every Dec. 4 in Cuba.

Experts say as many as 80 percent of Cubans observe some kind of Santeria.