Monday, February 21, 2011

African Spiris and the Diaspora

I am currently in a class called African Spirits in the New World. In this class we are discussing African spirituality/religion and tracking the spirit as the African Diaspora travels to various locations. We have talked about Vodou and Voodoo in Haiti, Candomble in Brazil. We will also be looking at Cuban and Cuban American Santeria, Revival Zion in Jamaica and the Black Christian church in the United States. One thing that all of these traditions have in common is the influence of the traditional African spirit and the origin of slavery.

These two videos show a bit about Candomble in Brazil. Though the traditions are different I would like to make some connections with the vocabulary and definition of Candomble.
What is Candomble?

Candomble is a religion that arose from the large African population in Brazil. The slave population in Brazil was huge, as it was the last place to end the enslavement of African people. (Their slavery was slightly more humane because slavers were much more valuable because they were no longer unlimited numbers as there in Haiti. It was easier to kill a slave and get a new one than to put up with any nonsense. Click here to learn more about Haitian history).  Candomble consists of many long ceremonies to become a leader. Here is a video of certain aspects of these ceremonies.

Click here to see the video on YouTube

If we look at the correct grammatical way to use the term Candomble as well as compared the idea of the Candomble to the idea of the church (Christianity). I think that using the idea of the Chrisian church will help those of us who understand Christianity to understand the many ways that the word Candomble can be used.

The idea of the church referring to both the body of Christ, comprised of many members (Rom 12), and the actual building that the church body (members of the church) meets in. I think that sometimes this distinction is missed and leads to a misunderstanding of what the church (in Christianity) is and is not. It is not just a building or a once a week event. It is everything from the relationships that make up the body of members, to the service (including dance, music, and worship), to the meeting place. (not always a fancy building, church can be held on a ski mountain, or around a campfire.) The church is the spirit thst is living inside a Christians as well (1 Cor, Rom 12 etc.).

In the same way the Candomble represents the community, the service, dance or worship, and at the same time a space. The members of the Candomble (community) would have their own individual roles in the body (mother similar to a priest etc.), and the Candomble (place) is where the Candomble (worship) takes place.
It is fascinating that two religions, often seen as so different (and are doctrinally) can have so many significant similarities when it comes to human nature and the nature of religion.

Click here for YouTube

Well I am back to studying the specifics of the rituals for my test tonight...with me luck

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