Candomblé for me is one of the most complete religions, because we have the counsciousness of the connection with the supreme being and with everything that he created in its pure essence. It is a religion that unites us with God. For me, it is the proof of the existence of a superior being independently of the name that is given to it. It is the pure energy of Nature; where we can feel it when we praise the Orixás and feel their presence.
Julio De Logun - director of the terreiro Ile Asé Maraketu Logun
The history of Afro-Brazilian religions includes, necessarily, the context of the social, political and economic relationships established among its main adherents: black people, white people and native indians. The development of candomblé was marked, among other factors, by the need of the black immigrants to elaborate their social and religious identity under the unfavourable circumstances of slavery and, subsequently, their social abandonment once slavery was abolished.
Until the 18th century, the most frequent name for all the african-rooted religions seems to be calundu. This term would be used to define any group meetings with dance, chants and percussion instruments to invoke spirits, practice magic healings or ‘possessions’. In candomblé, the different forms of cults to the gods – called orixás – were classified by the black practitioners based on models of rites called nations (angola, congo, jeje, nagô, etc.), in a way of allusion that gives the terreiros (courtyards where the meeting happen) a group or ethnic identity which refers back to their african ancestors.
Despite these variations, the nations share cultural elements, from their pantheon – Oxalá, Ogum, Xangô, Iemanjá, etc. – to the rituals themselves. The cults can be public or private, approaching the connection between the members of the terreiro to their orixás, who bring protections and benefits to them. The practitioners consider themselves to be a spiritual family that shares the terreiro with the orixás, also considered part of this ‘family’. The admission to the cult is marked by the ceremonial initiation of the follower, who then becomes a son-of-saint or daughter-of-saint.
The “shelter ceremonies” are public and festive celebrations with chants and music. For their preparation, a series of rites must be done, involving animal sacrifice, food preparation for the banquet afterwards and the ritual food offered to the orixás. After those steps, the “thouch” is started, which is the actual candomblé party.