The Washington Post ran an interesting story this week on Candomblé, a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends Catholicism with African beliefs. It’s a fascinating and sometimes misunderstood religion, the influence of which I’ve seen during visits to Brazil. From the Post article:
Candomblé is an oral culture with no sacred text. There are seven Candomblé nations — or variations – such as Ketu and Angola, depending on which Brazilian state it developed in, and where in Africa the slaves practicing it came from. They believe in a supreme being, called Olódùmarè (whose name can be spelled with or without the accents). Beneath this god are 16 Orixás — deities, or entities — many of whom have characteristics that are distinctly human in nature.
My firsthand experience with Candomblé is limited to meeting practitioners and seeing various art works that connect to it in some way. However, I have not personally seen it practiced, so the post article was a fascinating primer.