Candomblé is a unique African-Brazilian religion that most people do not know about. The religious belief was developed by people who were taken captive and transported from Africa to Brazil. These are people who suffered at the hands of the slave trade. Candomblé is a mix of the Bantu, Fon, and Yoruba beliefs. Each of these traditional religions has roots in Africa. As time passed by in the New World, Candomblé started to incorporate some Catholic faith elements. The belief translates as dance in honor of the gods. It includes dance and music in its ceremonies.
Catholicism and Candomblé
When the slave trade began, it was common for church leaders and the Christian slave owners to convert the Africans that they had enslaved. The main motive behind this was that they felt that it was their religious obligation to proselytize. Moreover, it also helped them make those enslaved more submissive. History reveals that the enslaved Africans were persecuted mercilessly due to religion. Thus, most of the slaves could not hold onto their previous faiths.
Even though the Church succeeded in the majority of cases, not every African enslaved was converted. It was common for those that converted to practice Christianity outwards and pray to their own gods secretly.
When we look at Brazil, a catholic country, the followers of Candomblé found the worship of saints to be similar to their religion. Hence, the Candomblé adherents chose to conceal their sacred symbols behind Catholic saints and worshiped their deities secretly.
When we consider the segregated African communities across America, the creation of catholic religious fraternities was straightforward. It allowed blacks to meet with one another and practice Candomblé worship. Feasts continued to be held on spiritual days to take advantage of each opportunity that they could get. Moreover, the African communities found opportunities to gather and rebel against slave owners. The worship system among the enslaved Africans is quite similar to the Bantu, Brazil’s indigenous people. Through their connection, they managed to relearn ancestral worship.
Persecution and Resurgence
The Catholic Church condemned the Candomblé. The adherents of the faith were violently persecuted and were told to give up their faith. Government-led public campaigns were also held, and police action continued until the 1970s, when a law that strictly prohibited persecution came into effect. Ever since then, the religion has become extremely popular as African-Brazilians realize the need to restore the connection to their roots. There are over 2 million adherents of Candomblé in Brazil, and the religion continues to grow to this day.
Salvador Da Bahia is a part of Brazil where the religion is mainly practiced. Bahia is visited by many people to learn more about their ancestor’s beliefs. Most followers believe that Candomblé allows them to reclaim their historical and cultural identity, which had been stripped of off them through slavery.
Candomblé is a religion that is seeing a resurgence in recent times. It is only a matter of time until African-Brazilians ultimately reclaim their ancestry.
It’s time to dance in honor of the Gods.
Candomblé: Dancing for the Gods explores this remarkable Afro-Brazilian tradition known as the Dance in honor of the Gods. Candomblé’s earliest roots are found in the Yoruba, Fon, and Bantu belief systems brought over from West and Central Africa by enslaved captives of the Portuguese Empire.
This informative book provides a complete overview of this beautiful oral tradition and belief system, including:
- The History of Candomblé
- Candomblé Nations
- Religious Practices with Beliefs and Deities
- Concepts of Good and Evil
Discover Candomblé’s rich heritage of temples, priests, music, dance, rituals, and ceremonies. Learn about the Supreme Creator and the many lesser deities known as Orishas. Get to know this unique religion whose rich tradition of African-based music and dance plays an important role.