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Candonble in Salvador

A RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM IN BRAZIL

In Bahia, the former capital of Brazil, the descendants of the inhabitants of South-West Nigeria have continued to worship their ancestral gods or Orixa to this very day, in spite of the time and distance which separates them from their place of origin. Bahians have not only maintained their ancestors' language but also their traditional songs, their musical instruments, and their dances. The African influence was felt by Brazilians from the earliest child-hood; children were brought up by black nannies who were generally of Yoruba descent. While being rocked to sleep, such children listened to Africa songs, they were told the fables of Africa, they were taught to fear the same super-natural beings as those known in Western Nigeria in case they misbehaved, and their health was protected by medicines made from the same leaves as the ones used in Africa. Adopted at first by the African section of the population alone, this religious manifestation has gone on growing and gaining grounds in new surroundings and in our times it has taken an important place in the spiritual life of the country. This syncretism brings together, confuses and identifies the worship of Africa gods with the adoration of the saints in the catholic religion. The liturgy itself and the ritual of candomble ceremonies in Bahia have been kept very pure. It is necessary to point out also the atmosphere of complete dignity and profound respect in which these cults are held and the sources of inspiration that they provide for the artists and the intellectuals. Painters and sculptors exhibit works in art galleries inspired on these beautiful ceremonies. In literature, some plays are based on the myths of these African gods. Composers try to transpose for voice and piano candomble tunes collected in Bahia. Dancers recreate certain legends of these gods using the choreography from the dances of the orixa worshippers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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