To followers of Santeria in the regions of Cuba and all throughout the world, stretching from Asia to North America, worship of the orisha known Yemaya is a prevalent thing. In thelucumi dialect,Yemaya is known as the universal mother, more pointedly, the ruler and queen of the oceans and all water. This connection also involves this universal ruler of the oceans and water makes her the patron orisha of women who give birth. It's believed that the flow of water, governed by yemaya will provide safe passage of the child through the birth canal resulting in a healthy and safe delivery.

The Origins of the Queen of the Oceans

It is said that one day,Olofi(God Almighty) was having a party in Ara Onu, the land of the spirits. To this party,Olofi invited all Orisha. These Orisha, deities that reflect the works ofOlofi, were required to come baring gifts to Olofi. As Yemaya was also an Orisha, she too was invited to the party, but because she was so busy maintaining life on land and sea, she was too preoccupied to look for a gift befitting a king likeOlofi.

As the day of the party approached Yemaya realized she had not gotten a gift forOlofi, so she sped off to the land in search of a gift. The hour was late and all she could procure was three fish purchased late from a market merchant.

She returned home, dressed in her most opulent blue dress and went to the party. When it was time for her to present her gift she did so reluctantly. As Olofi took the gift, he inquired of her is she though this was proper gift for a queen. Before she could respond Olofi made it clear that her gift was meaningful as she was so busy caring for others that acquiring a vain gift to Olofi was not a priority. Because of her gift,Olofi turned her gift into one glorious crown and appointed her queen of the oceans.

Followers of Yemaya believe that she is at the heart of the oceans and all that inhabit it. They believe that she is the waves that pound on the shore, the fish of the sea are her children and she keeps watch over fishermen for save travels and safe returns.