Home of Condoble - Cachoeira - Actual Blog Entry

cachoeira Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 12 › view all entries
Outside of Cachoeira, with my friend Georges kids on our way to a waterfall.

Condoble is a Brazilian religion that is very heavily influenced by western African religions bought over during slavery.  The slave masters would not let the slaves practice their religion, so they would have to disguise it.  The Afro-Brazilians would give each god a saint, and would say that they were having a party/feast in honor of this or that Saint, but in reality it was for this or that god.  Here are some examples:

Ogun – god of warriors, farmers, and all who use iron tools or weapons, syncretized with St. Anthony

Xango - the thunder god, syncretized with St. Jerome

Oxossi – god of hunters and the forest, syncretized with St. George

Oxala – god of creation, syncretized with our lord of bonfim


Now, I had the privilege to stay in Cachoeira in Bahia for 4 days, which they say is one of the condoble hot beds.

I had a big connection, cause my friend from Mohawk street, Brian, has spent 4-5 years studying it in Cachoeira.  He put me through with his friends, and I was all set up in Cachoeira.  It was a really nice small town, and everybody is very friendly.  It was good to get away from the high crime cities. 


So my friend Jorge takes me to the Condoble party.  There is a big bonfire outside the house, the entrance is decorated with all sorts of leaves, flowers, and branches.  Big fireworks were going off behind the house.  As you enter the house you see all this food laid out in front of a small statue of a God/Saint (who?, I do not rememberL).  People were playing the drums, and a group of all races and genders were dancing in a circle for hours.  Then someone from the circle would catch the spirit of the god.  People would catch the spirit in all different ways, some would sing and holler others would lash out violently; some would make animal hisses and growls.  You could see it in some of their eyes, as their pupils got very large.  Once they caught the spirit, others would change their clothes and they would return to the room representing the god that they were worshipping.  In the meantime, my friend Jorge, who was occasionally serving as one of the drummers, would take me over to the food offering area and we would do shots of whiskey.  I felt weird as I was the only tourist doing this, but my buddy was part of the procession, and he said that it was all good.  Food was passed around, and the party goes all night, with a feast at the end.  All in all, it was a very cool experience.  Two US comparisons stuck out:

#1 - If you have ever been to an African American church and seen people “catch the spirit,” perhaps that was a way to disguise an aspect of an African religion? 


#2 - It reminded me of watching hippies dance to their shitty music.  Hippies are so doped up they get in this trance and forget that their music and dancing sucks.  At least condoble has a purpose. 


The next question is do the people of Cachoeira actually believe in condoble?  I don’t know, I didn’t ask.  Just remember that the Portuguese attempted to destroy much of their African culture, and condoble and capoiera are ways to keep their heritage alive.



Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Outside of Cachoeira, with my frie…
Outside of Cachoeira, with my fri…
photo by: bok673