Friday, February 4, 2011

Candomble Ceremony

What do you do if you're in Bahia for a very short time and a tour guide hands you a flyer for a "real deal" Candomble Ceremony? Well, you go. While my couchsurfing hosts were downright skeptical, it was in fact "real." That is it wasn't orchestrated for tourists like let's say a hotel-based Luau in Waikiki, Hawaii would be. It was in progress before our 5-person tour group arrived and continued after we left. And no effort was made to explain anything to us while it was going on.

Having seen many films of vodou practitioners going into mind-blowing body-trembling trance, I was a bit non-plussed. A couple of people writhed on the ground but hardly in a sustained trance-state. Mostly it was a small loving group of people doing a healing ceremony. At one point, I received a healing where branches were waved over my head and down by back and then my body was sprinkled with popcorn. Afterwards my foot did start feeling better...

Cigar smoke was a big thing -- honoring the sacred tobacco used by indigenous tribes of Brazil. And then sweet red wine (ala Manichewitz) was distributed. Drums beat, bodies swayed and no-doubt healing occurred. Later I was handed a plate of very typical Brazilian food (rice, fejoada (cooked beans with pork) and a gummy salty glob that was tan in color. I dutifully tasted it all and then ate the rice.

Too sacred for photos...just memories.

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