Also spelled and pronounced as Shango, Chango is a very important Orisha in Santeria. He is one of the four pillars in Santeria and every person has to receive him during initiation whether or not they are his children. Apart from being the King of the religion on earth, Chango is also the Orisha for male virility, leadership, thunder, fire, drumming, and dancing.
A Strong King He Was Not
Chango is known to not be as effective as a king should be when he was alive. However, after his death, he worked miracles for the other Orishas. Chango is also known to have had many female lovers and was an exquisite dancer and drummer. Chango also has a magical and powerful mortar which allows him to spit fire from his mouth. A double-headed ax is his favorite weapon and his residence is at the top of the royal palm tree.
There is a popular Pataki related to Chango and Oya. Chango was once at a party, drinking and dancing and having the time of his life. He was enjoying so much that he did not realize that some of his enemies were outside the party watching him. As soon as the party died down and all the guests left, Chango staggered to a corner where an enemy was waiting for him. The enemy quickly trapped him and locked him in a small cell. Chango and Oya had had a fling.
He had kept his pilon and mortar at her house. Days passed and Oya grew worried because Chango did not show up. Oya wondered about his pilon and mortar. She saw that the inside the mortar was gleaming and a clear liquid formed. Seeing that Chango had been trapped in a cell, Oya became furious. At that moment, she called upon lightning to help her rescue him. Kissing the liquid in the mortar and soon her lips and mouth burned. No water could ease the burning and fire spat out. The lightning came and took her to Chango. As she reached there, Oya screamed a war cry and a burst of fire erupted from her mouth.
Chango’s enemies soon scattered and Oya released Chango. She told him about how she rescued him as he could not remember. It upset Chango that Oya pried in his mortar but was grateful. Ever since Oya now accompanies Chango in fights and wars.
Children of Chango
Chango fathered the Ibeji twins as well as Boromu and Borosia, the children born because of Yeggua’s rape. Many Orishas used to complain about Chango’s unruly and egoistic attitude. However, through many trials and errors and a reality check from Obatala, Chango soon matured and learned gracefulness and charm. This Orisha teaches us that no matter how many mistakes we make, we can always turn around and redeem ourselves. He is very loving and compassionate towards his children and all Orishas.
Corresponding to Chango
His colors are red, white and gold. His numbers are 4 or 6 or both. Spicy foods, alcohol, chili peppers, tobacco, okra, and cornbread make great offerings for this Orisha.
Learn more about Santeria and the Orishas with Lucumi: The Ways of Santeria