The ceremony of Ocha is one of the most important ceremonies to the follower that wishes to be an active part of the Yoruba religion. This ceremony is received after having recieved Hand of Orunla. This is necessary since it is in the Hand of Orunla where the follower learns who is his or her guardian angel. Many Santeros affirm that this is not true so that their godchildren don´t go to a Babalawo, in fear that their followers might stay with the Babalawo. This can cause a fatal mistake since the follower could be crowned a saint that isn´t his, causing riots in his head.
This ceremony must be performed by at least 8 santeros. It is also necesssary the assistance of a Babalawo who has received Akuanaldo, who will do the ritualistic killing. The absence of this Babalawo can also cause great problems.
In this ceremony there are 3 essential santeros. The godfather or godmother who will give birth to the follower. The ayubon or ayubona who is like a second godparent. And the Italero, who is the santero that performs the Ita.
Crowned Saint (Santo Coronado)
The ceremony of crowned saint is the ceremony of Ocha by preference. This is a fairly big ceremony that requires a lot of work. In this ceremony the aleyo (follower) receives his guardian angel in his head, this is why it is called crowned.
The ceremony lasts 7 days. During these days, the aleyo sleeps and spends all his time in the Bordun (room of saint). Most of the ceremony is secret for those who haven´t received it. The aleyo looses his hair since it is necessary to shave his or her head. However, the biggest sacrifices come afterwards. This time is called yaboraje and the follower is called yabo. The yabo must follow a series of limitations during the year that follows. Some of these limitations include: not going out at night, eating sitting down on the floor, not wearing makeup, not letting other people see their head during 3 months, eat on the ground for 3 months, only use spoons to eat, etc.
One of the most important parts of this ceremony is the Ita. An Ita is a part in the Ceremony where the saints talk to the follower and tells him his destiny and what guidelines to follow in order to live a prosper life. This ceremony has a very important Ita.
After receiving this ceremony, the follower can do consultations, works like ebo, have godchildren, perform ceremony of Ilekes, and perform many other ceremonies. The ceremony of Ocha gives a high standing in this religion.
Laundered Saint (Santo Lavado)
The ceremony of Laundered Saint is a lighter version of the Ceremony of Ocha. This version only lasts one day and does not include the time of yaboraje or its limitations. Also, it doesn´t require to shave the yabo´s head. However, this ceremony doesn´t include the mayor benefits that the crowned ceremony endows like being able to consult, have godchildren, etc. This ceremony is received by people that don´t wish to work as santeros. People who receive this ceremony do it generally for health or because they aspire to become Babalawos. However, when the guardian angel is Chango or Ochun, the ceremony must be crowned since those saints don´t permit laundering.