Candomblé Ketu

Candomblé Ketu (or Queto in Portuguese) is the largest and most influential branch (nation) of Candomblé, a religion practiced in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The word Candomblé means “ritual dancing or gather in honor of gods” and Ketu is the name of the Ketu region of Benin.[1]Its liturgical language, known as Iorubá or Nagô, is a dialect of Yoruba. Candomblé Ketu developed in the early 19th century and gained great importance to Brazilian heritage in the 20th century.

Candomblé Ketu
Iyalorixas da Bahia-mãe Olga.jpeg
Candomblé priestesses in Brazil
TheologyCombination of Yoruba religion, Christianity and
Native Brazilian religions.
AssociationsOrder of Our Lady of the Good Death
Order of Our Lord of the Martyrdom


Atabaques Batuque

Queto is a system of beliefs that merges the Yoruba mythology (brought to the New World by Yoruba slaves) with Christianity and Indigenous American traditions.[2] Queto developed in the Portuguese Empire. Yoruba slaves carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and spirits, animal sacrifice, and sacred drumming and dance.[3][4] Its origins are entwined with the religious and beneficent brotherhoods (irmandades) organized by the Roman Catholic Church among ethnic Yoruba slaves; the Order of Our Lady of the Good Death (Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte), for women, and the Order of Our Lord of the Martyrdom (Nosso Senhor dos Martírios), for men. The religion grew popular among slaves because it was a way for Yoruba slaves to maintain their culture and express independence.

Numerous terreiros of the Ketu branch of Candomblé have received historic status and government protection from the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN). Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká in Salvador was the first non-Roman Catholic and first Afro-Brazilian religious place of worship to receive protected heritage status in Brazil. Ilê Odó Ogé, also known as Terreiro Pilão de Prata, has protected heritage status from the state of Bahia.[5]

Religious practices

As the largest branch of the Candomblé religion, Ketu origins have a major influence on the religion as a whole. Although there are various branches of Candomblé, the foundational beliefs are the same. They differ based on names, songs, and rituals primarily due to no written scripture. Each branch possesses a unique deity under the Supreme god Olódùmarè who is seen as unequaled and beyond all existence. Ketu’s deity is named Orisha. Orishas controls the destiny of the people and acts as a guardian. Orishas also represent different forces in nature, foods, colors, animals, and days of the week.

In Ketu, Candomblé storytelling and animal sacrifices are important. Storytelling is expected to be done in a clear and precise way in order to be passed down to further generations. Animals such as pigs, goats, cows, sheep, and chicken are often sacrificed. Animals are seen as sacred, so they are often sacrificed as a way to transfer energy between nature, humans, and Orishas.[6]

Catholic resistance

There was a great deal of Catholic resistance due to the belief that the religion was devil's work. Slaves often incorporated Catholic Saints in order to keep their practices a secret. Catholics wanted to slaves to convert to their religion and feared retaliation if slaves became too independent.[7]


See also


  1. ^ Yvonne Daniel (2005). Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomblé. University of Illinois Press. p. 324.
  2. ^ "Lucumí Religion". New Orleans Mistic. Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  3. ^ Lois Ritter, Nancy Hoffman (April 18, 2011). Multicultural Health. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 268.
  4. ^ Abiola Irele, Biodun Jeyifo (April 27, 2010). The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. p. 305.
  5. ^ Dourado, Odete (2011). "Antigas falas, novas aparências: o tombamento do Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká e a preservação dos bens patrimoniais no Brasil" (PDF). RISCO. 14 (2): 6–19. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  6. ^ Kerilyn Daniel, "Understanding Mental Health from a Candomble Perspective", 2007. Retrieved on 2016-02-22.
  7. ^ Dom Phillips, "Afro-Brazilian religions struggle against Evangelical hostility", Washington Post, February 6, 2015. Retrieved on 2016-02-22.


External links


Abakuá, also sometimes known as Nañigo, is an Afro-Cuban men's initiatory fraternity or secret society, which originated from fraternal associations in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon.Abakuá has been described as "an Afro-Cuban version of Freemasonry".


Ase or ashe (from Yoruba àṣẹ) is a West African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make things happen and produce change. It is given by Olodumare to everything — gods, ancestors, spirits, humans, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, and voiced words such as songs, prayers, praises, curses, or even everyday conversation. Existence, according to Yoruba thought, is dependent upon it.In addition to its sacred characteristics, ase also has important social ramifications, reflected in its translation as "power, authority, command." A person who, through training, experience, and initiation, learns how to use the essential life force of things to willfully effect change is called an alaase.

Rituals to invoke divine forces reflect this same concern for the autonomous ase of particular entities. The recognition of the uniqueness and autonomy of the ase of persons and gods is what structures society and its relationship with the other-world.


Babaaláwo or Babalawo (Babalao or Babalaô in Latin America; literally meaning 'father of the mysteries' in the Yoruba language) is a spiritual title that denotes a priest of the Ifá oracle. Ifá is a divination system that represents the teachings of the Òrìṣà Orunmila, the Òrìṣà of Wisdom, who in turn serves as the oracular representative of Olodumare. A Babalawo's female counterpart is known as an Iyanifa.


Candomblé (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɐ̃dõmˈblɛ], "dance in honour of the gods") is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced mainly in Brazil by the povo de santo ("people of saint"). Candomblé originated in Salvador, Bahia at the beginning of the 19th century, when the first temple was founded. Candomblé is practiced primarily in Brazil, and is also practiced in other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela, having as many as two million followers.Candomblé developed in a creolization of traditional Yoruba, Fon, and Bantu beliefs brought from West and Central Africa by enslaved captives in the Portuguese Empire. Between 1549 and 1888, the religion developed in Brazil, influenced by the knowledge of enslaved African priests who continued to teach their religion, their culture, and language. In addition, Candomblé absorbed elements of Roman Catholicism and includes indigenous American traditions.As an oral tradition, it does not have holy scriptures. Practitioners of Candomblé believe in a Supreme Creator called Oludumaré, who is served by lesser deities, which are called Orishas. Every practitioner is believed to have their own tutelary orisha, which controls his or her destiny and acts as a protector. Music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies, since the dances enable worshippers to become possessed by the orishas. In the rituals, participants make offerings like minerals, vegetables, and animals. Candomblé does not include the duality of good and evil; each person is required to fulfill their destiny to the fullest, regardless of what that is.

Candomblé Bantu

Candomblé Bantu (also called Candomblé Batuque or Angola) is one of the major branches (nations) of the Candomblé religious belief system. It developed in the Portuguese Empire among Kongo and Mbundu slaves who spoke Kikongo and Kimbundu) languages. The supreme and creative god is Nzambi or Nzambi Mpungu. Below him are the Jinkisi or Minkisi, deities of Bantu mythology. These deities resemble Olorun and the other orishas of the Yoruba religion. Minkisi is a Kongo language term: it is the plural of Nkisi, meaning "receptacle". Akixi comes from the Kimbundu language term Mukixi.

Candomblé Jejé

Candomblé Jejé, also known as Brazilian Vodum, is one of the major branches (nations) of Candomblé. It developed in the Portuguese Empire among Fon and Ewe slaves. Jejé is a Yoruba word meaning stranger, which is what the Fon and Ewe slaves represented to the Yoruba slaves.

Cowrie-shell divination

Cowrie-shell divination refers to several distinct forms of divination using cowrie shells that are part of the rituals and religious beliefs of certain religions. Though best-documented in West Africa as well as in Afro-American religions, such as Santería, Candomblé, and Umbanda, cowrie-shell divination has also been recorded in other regions, notably East Africa and India.


The Gẹlẹdẹ spectacle of the Yoruba is a public display by colorful masks which combines art and ritual dance to amuse, educate and inspire worship. Gelede celebrates “Mothers” (awon iya wa), a group that includes female ancestors and deities as well as the elderly women of the community, and the power and spiritual capacity these women have in society. However, this power may also be destructive and take the form of witchcraft; therefore, Gelede serves the function of appeasing this power, as well.

Ketu (Benin)

Ketu is a historical region in what is now the Republic of Benin, in the area of the town of Kétou (Ketu). It is one of the oldest capitals of the Yoruba speaking people, tracing its establishment to a settlement founded by a descendant of Oduduwa, also known as Odudua, Oòdua and Eleduwa. The regents of the town were traditionally styled "Alaketu", and are related to the Egba sub-group of the Yoruba people in present-day Nigeria.

Ketu is considered one of the sixteen original kingdoms established by the children of Oduduwa in Oyo mythic history, though this ancient pedigree has been somewhat neglected in contemporary Yoruba historical research, which tends to focus on communities within Nigeria. The exact status of Ketu within the Oyo empire however is contested. Oyo sources claim Ketu as a dependency with claims that the Ketu paid an annual tribute and that its ruler attended the Bere festival in Oyo. In any case, there is no doubt that Ketu and Oyo maintained friendly relations largely due to their historical, linguistic, cultural and ethnic ties.The kingdom was one of the main enemies of the ascendant kingdom of Dahomey, often fighting against Dahomeans as part of Oyo's imperial forces, but ultimately succumbing to the Fon in the 1880s as the kingdom was ravaged. A large number of Ketu's citizens were sold into slavery during these raids, which accounts for the kingdom's importance in Brazilian Candomblé. Ketu is often known as Queto in Portuguese orthography.

Letra del año

The Letra del año (Spanish) or Letra do Ano (Portuguese) (English: Letter of the year) is an annual proclamation of predictions and advice by babalawo's for the coming year, usually issued every December 31 (New Year's Eve on the Gregorian calendar). In Yorubaland, it is made by a council of babalawo's during the Odun Ifa (New Year) festival during June. In most of Latin America, a national council of babalawo's is usually responsible for the announcements of predictions. In Cuba, however, at least two national councils (one of which is state-sponsored) offer letras del año. A particular controversy arose in 2009-2010, when one of the Cuban national councils of babalawo issued a letra which predicted fights for power and an unusually high number of deaths of political leaders in the world, which many media outlets outside Cuba interpreted as being directed to Cuba's own political apparatus.

Nana Buluku

Nana Buluku, also known as Nana Buruku, Nana Buku or Nanan-bouclou, is the female Supreme Being in the West African traditional religion of the Fon people (Benin, Dahomey) and the Ewe people (Togo). She is the most influential deity in West African theology, one shared by many ethnic groups other than the Fon people, albeit with variations. For example, she is called the Nana Bukuu among the Yoruba people and the Olisabuluwa among Igbo people but described differently, with some actively worshipping her, while some do not worship her and worship the gods originating from her.In Dahomey mythology, Nana Buluku is the mother Supreme Creator who gave birth to the moon spirit Mawu, the sun spirit Lisa and all of the Universe. After giving birth to these, she retired and left the matters of the world to Mawu-Lisa, according to the Fon mythology. She is the primary creator, Mawu-Lisa the secondary creator and the theology based on these is called Vodun, Voodoo or Vodoun.


Olodumare (Yoruba: O-lo-dù-ma-rè) also known as Olorun (Almighty) is the name given to one of the three manifestations of the Supreme God or Supreme Being in the Yoruba pantheon. Olodumare is the Supreme Creator.The Yoruba believe Olodumare is omnipotent and is also responsible for the creation of all life, Yoruba tradition says everything is in the hands of God (Olodumare) when they are going to bed at night.The name Olodumare symbolises a divine "Entity" following these characteristics: not having a father or mother; one that and is not bound by space.Historically, the Yoruba did not worship Olodumare, there is no specific shrine and no sacrifice is often made towards their way.

Yoruba consider Olodumare to be the origin of virtue and mortality. Is believed to bestow the knowledge of things upon all persons at the time of their birth. The Yoruba call on Olodumare when other deities are unwilling to help or seem incapable. Yoruba believe Olodumare created all other forces of the universe to help continue the evolution of the universe.


Òrìṣà (original spelling in the Yoruba language), known as orichá or orixá in Latin America, are the human form of the spirits (Irunmọlẹ) sent by Olodumare, Olorun, Olofi in Yoruba traditional identity. The Irunmọlẹ are meant to guide creation and particularly humanity on how to live and succeed on Earth (Ayé). Most Òrìṣà are said to be deities previously existing in the spirit world (Òrun) as Irunmọlẹ, while others are said to be humans who are recognized as deities upon their deaths due to extraordinary feats.Many Òrìṣà have found their way to most of the New World as a result of the Atlantic slave trade and are now expressed in practices as varied as Santería, Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, Umbanda, and Oyotunji, among others. The concept of orisha is similar to those of deities in the traditional religions of the Bini people of Edo State in southern Nigeria, the Ewe people of Benin, Ghana, and Togo, and the Fon people of Benin.

Tambor de Mina

Tambor de Mina is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced mainly in Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, Pará, and the Amazônia.

Trinidad Orisha

Trinidad Orisha, also known as Shango, is a syncretic religion in Trinidad and Tobago and is of Caribbean origin, originally from West Africa (Yoruba religion) and influenced by Roman Catholicism. Trinidad Orisha incorporates elements of Spiritual Baptism, and the closeness between Orisha and Spiritual Baptism has led to use of the term "Shango Baptist" to refer to members of either or both religions. Anthropologist James Houk described Trinidad Orisha as an "Afro-American religious complex", incorporating elements mainly of traditional African religion and Yoruba and incorporates some elements of Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Hinduism, Islam (especially Sufism), Buddhism, Judaism, Bahá'í, and Trinidad Kabbalah.

Yoruba calendar

The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) is a calendar used by the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria and southern Benin. The calendar has a year beginning on the last moon of May or first moon of June of the Gregorian calendar, and an era of 8042 BC. The new year coincides with the Ifá festival

The traditional Yoruba week has four days. The four days that are dedicated to the Orisa go as follow:

Day 1 is dedicated to Obatala (Sopanna, Iyaami, and the Egungun)

Day 2 is dedicated to Orunmila (Esu, Ifá and Osun) *

Day 3 is dedicated to Ogun (Osoosi)

Day 4 is dedicated to Sango (Oya)To reconcile with the Gregorian calendar, Yoruba people also measure time in seven days a week and four weeks a month. The four-day calendar was dedicated to the Orisas and the seven-day calendar is for doing business.

The seven days are: Ojo-Aiku (Sunday), Ojo-Aje (Monday), Ojo-Ishegun (Tuesday), Ojo-Iru (Wednesday), Ojo-Bo/Alamisi (Thursday), Ojo-Eti (Friday) and Ojo-Abameta (Saturday).

Time is measured in iṣeju (minutes), wakati (hours), ojo (days), ose (weeks), oṣu (months) and odun (years). There are 60 (ogota) iṣeju in 1 (ookan) wakati; 24 (merinlelogun) wakati in 1 ojo; 7 (meje) ojo in 1 ose; 4 (merin) ose in 1 oṣu and 52 (mejilelaadota) ose in 1 (ookan) odun. There are 12 (mejila) oṣu in 1 (ookan) odun.

Yoruba people in the Atlantic slave trade

The Yoruba people, among the most heavily targeted, contributed significant cultural and economic influence upon the Atlantic slave trade during its run from approximately 1400 until 1900 CE.


Olorun is the ruler of (or in) the Heavens. The Supreme God or Supreme Being in the Yoruba pantheon, Olorun, is also called Olodumare.

Humans do not worship Olorun directly, there are no sacred areas of worship or ordained person. Olorun is outlying, distant and does not partake in human rituals. There are no shrines or sacrifices dedicated directly to him, although followers can send prayers in his direction.Among the Yoruba Christians and Muslims, meanwhile, the word Ọlọrun is also commonly used to denote their faith in God as The Almighty Divine, The Absolute Sovereign."

For Yoruba traditions there is no centralized authority, because of this and the way the traditions were spread through the slave trade to other areas of the world, there are many different ways that Yoruban People and their descendants or Orisa-based faiths can understand the idea of Olorun.

Diverse roots
Yoruba religion (Orisa-Ifá)
Countries of development
Sacred sites
Legendary figures

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