Afro-Brazilian culture is one of the culturally rich, most authentic, and unique cultures in the world. This culture's story goes beyond food or music; it is a story of hope and solidarity. We invite you to learn about the Afro-Brazilianian past and savor its present.
Afro-Brazilian culture is an integral part of Brazilian and Latin culture. The country is known for the plural composition of its identities and the complexity of its history. If you want to discover the Afro-Brazilian culture, you've come to the right place.
Salvador de Bahia
If Brazil represents an ethnic kaleidoscope, "Salvador de Bahia" is its cradle. From 1549 to 1763, Salvador de Bahia served as the first capital of Brazil. Salvador de Bahia is the ultimate representation of the Afro-Brazilian community. It takes you back to the time of African slavery in Brazil.
Salvador de Bahia was the first slave market in the New World. Its historical center, the Pelourinho, meaning "pillory", testifies to this prosperous period. Its historical role as a colonial capital connects it with the theme of discovering the universe.
You can find the echo of this multicultural past in the historic center's rich tangible and intangible heritage. Today, Salvador de Bahia is a land of contrasts bathed in the traditions of the Afro-Brazilian community.
Brazil lives around religion, be it the Catholic, the Protestant, the Evangelicalor even the Terreiros. Terreiros are the places of worship of Candomblé. Candomblé is a religion that found its rise in Salvador.
Candomblé arrived from Africa during colonialism; it is a mixture of various spiritual influences. Slaves practiced it as an instrument in the struggle against whites' domination and exploitation over blacks. Candomblé created a real Afro-Brazilian community bond. The colonizers forbade slaves to practice candomblé, fearing that these practices would strengthen their identity.
To circumvent these prohibitions, the slaves gave names to the African deities (Orixá). They were thus able to worship their gods in the guise of a saint. Each “Orixá” is characterized by an element of the Earth: fire, water, and air.
Music and Dance
Music and dance reflect the authenticity of Afro-Brazilian culture. One of the characteristics of this heritage is “Capoeira”. Capoeira originated in the sugar plantations of Salvador de Bahia, where slaves lived crowded together. It is an Afro-Brazilianian art form that combines martial arts and dance.
At night, slaves were training for their self-defense. To hide their physical training from their masters, they began to incorporate acrobatic figures and dances and add rudimentary percussion instruments' rhythm.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Brazil abolished slavery. Two masters of Capoeira transformed their discipline into an art form. One of these capoeiristas, the legendary “Bimba”, demonstrated it to the Brazilian president in 1928.
In Salvador de Bahia, Afro-Brazilian people have created their own musical style. Traditional percussion instruments distinguish Afro-Brazilianian music such as the “berimbau” (a bow-shaped device used for Capoeira), the “atabaque” (tall wooden drum) or the “agogô” (bell).
Another element of the Afro-Brazilian music and dance heritage is the “Balé Folclórico festival” in Bahia. The festival includes dozens of musicians and dancers who present a repertoire of Capoeira and other dances related to Candomblé.
From the carnivals, to the football players celebrating on tv, to the old men smoking a pipe on the streets, dance is a Brazilian heritage. However, not a lot of folks know that most of the really popular dances have their origins in AfroBrazil and Africa. These are a few dances that have their roots rooted in African heritage!
Samba de Roda
Bumba Meu Boi
Afro-Brazilian street food is a unique food experience. “Acarajé” is the most famous one called, it is a fried doughnut made of mashed black-eyed beans. Another element of the Afro-Brazilian culinary scene is “dendê”, a healthy palm oil initially found in Africa. It is the basis of many dishes you will taste, such as “moqueca” (a seafood stew with tomatoes and garlic). Restaurants generally serve it with a “caipirinha” (Brazil's national cocktail). Caipirinha is made with lime, sugar and cachaça.
-Black Expats In Brazil
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