Summary Of The History Of Candomble

By Kristen Baird

Candomble is a word that describes a dance in honor of the gods. This religion traces its origin to Fon, Bantu and Yoruba. The history of Candomble states that it emerged as slaves who originated from Africa tried to maintain their traditional way of worship. The practices are heavily influenced by Catholicism. Despite not having a sacred scripture it has managed to gather over two million followers.

The slaves who originated from Africa and were transported to Brazil are credited with perpetuating this religion. It remained underground as Christian, and most especially catholic, slave masters did not allow their subjects to continue with their worship. The heavy catholic and Christian influence is attributed to the attempt by slave masters to convert them.

As late as 1970s, African decadents were persecuted for following the blend of religion in Brazil. It is after formal recognition that this religion has gained popularity. The city that is most popular with this form of worship is Salvador da Bahia. Many Africans in Brazil still visit this city as they seek to know their history.

While it is termed as religion, many blacks still identify Candomble as a cultural practice and identity. This has seen a push to purge the religion of any practices that are borrowed from Christianity in order to make it purely African. The followers have a God referred to as Oludumare who has deities called Orixas that serve him.

Worshipers are not guided by the concepts of good and bad. Their belief is that those who do wrong will have to face harsh consequences. Every human being has a personal goal or responsibility on earth and must fulfill it. This goal or responsibility is under the control of Orixas who also acts as your protector.

The way of worship is to allow Orixas to possess you as you perform a certain dance. Orixas are not gods as such but the spirits of dead ancestors, some of whom are known while others are not. Orixas are the link between the human and spiritual world and also go by the name Viduns and Inkices.

Orixas have connections to beneficial forces like animals and food that individuals need. The personality traits of a worshiper depend on the Orixas that has possessed him or her. The common name for Orixas is Baba Egum or Egungun. It is Egungun who controls societal morality and ensures that it is perpetuated from one generation to the other.

Worship happens by priests and priestesses disguising themselves as Egums. The way to summon Orixas to possess a worshiper is through particular songs and dances. A worshiper under the influence of Orixas will get into a trance and enact certain community practices. The trance ends when the Orixas has completed his mission and left the worshiper.

Women have a privileged position within the religion and are referred to as mothers of the holy one. It is their responsibility to train future priestesses and also lead dances. Worship happens in terreiros or temples which comprises of designated places for different gods and very specific indoor and outdoor spaces. A worshiper is required to use clean cloths when entering the temple and sprinkle water at the door in order to eliminate external dirt or impurities.

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