El Kimpungulu: Corpus Santoral Del Palo Monte Mayombe Belief System & Rituals… “Una Nganga De Siete Rayos Zarabanda Del Palo.”
Palo, also known as Las Reglas de Kongo, is a group of closely related religions which developed in the Spanish Empire among Central African slaves with roots in the Congo. A large numbers of Kongo slaves were brought to Cuba where the religion was organized. Palo’s liturgical language is a mixture of the Spanish and Kongo languages, known as Lengua. During the late 18th-19th century, Palo began to spread from Cuba to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, and Latino communities in the United States.
The branches of Palo include Mayombe, Monte, Briyumba, and Kimbisa. The word “palo” (“stick” in Spanish) was applied to the religion in Cuba due to the use of wooden sticks in the preparation of altars, which were also called “la Nganga”, “el caldero”, or “la prenda”. Priests of Palo are known as “Paleros”, “Ngangeros.