These whirling women lead rituals during the syncretic Festival of the Divine Holy Spirit, a tradition in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão. They’re here in São Paulo for one week  (everything comes here). The elderly lady who opens the video is in her 80s! She was being possessed by the orixá, an African spirit manifested in Afro-Latin religions such as Vodun, Santería, and Candomblé. Somewhere in there, you can hear me say ‘Amen,’ cuz they was havin’ church, y’all.

Sorry about the craptastic quality of my camera. I’m working on it. You still get the picture. 😉

SIMILAR ARTICLES

3 COMMENTS

  1. You were entertained. It refereshing to soak in the culture of a country!

    When I lived in Rio, there was a macumba group like the one shown in your video that made so much noise in an adjacent by parking lot near my apt building. The noise + chants scared me,it was an interesting sight. I know very little about this culture, so I can’t knock it without a full understanding…but I have my reservations about macumba, candomble..or the 5000 other names this religion goes by because of personal encounters in Brazil with people who practice this religion to harm others.

    • I don’t know how entertained I was, but I was indeed enlightened. I have much respect for syncretic religions that stem from the traditional belief systems of a people, pre-European colonization. Like most Eastern religions, there are the necessary light and dark sides that make a complete whole – ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ if you will. Besides, how much death and destruction has occurred in the name of Christianity? Be open, my sister. We, as black Americans, share elements of these same ceremonies in the way we interact with spirituality and with music. I’m sure there are just as many adherants who focus on doing good.

      • You know that point in a black Southern church where the organ player is laying it down, the drums are going a mile a minute and everybody is up clapping, tapping the beat out, basically dancing…yeah that!

        Im from Louisiana…have aunties who practiced Voodoo when I was coming up..my perspective is that its part of the whole of us

        I love your blog…reading this blog reminds me that there is life outside of residency and that I can and will synthesize medicine and anthropology and explore as much of us as I can, while in service.

        I have been longing to come to Brazil. Watching the gates series now…thanks for linking it!

Leave a Reply