Quimbanda (Portuguese pronunciation: [kĩˈbɐ̃dɐ]) is an Afro-Brazilian religion practiced primarily in the urban city centers of Brazil. Quimbanda practices are typically associated with magic, rituals with Exus, and Pombagiras spirits. Quimbanda was originally contained under the religious tradition of Macumba. In the early years of the 21st century, some began to assert, despite historical records to the contrary, that Quimbanda was totally separate from Umbanda. Umbanda represented the more Europeanized traits of the religion. Quimbanda has continued to insist that it is a distinct religion, while rejecting Catholic and Kardecist Spiritist influences that have penetrated Umbanda and other Afro-Brazilian religions.
|Region||Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, United States|
|Origin||20th century |
In Quimbanda the male spirits are known as Exus, they are considered very powerful spirits. Note that they are not the same as the Eshu/ Elegua of Lukumi Elegua/ Santeria; as Quimbanda has evolved as a religion, it has created a category of spirits collectively called Exus, whose name was borrowed from the deity Exu. Exus refers to the phalanx of spirits. Religious professor Kelly E. Hayes outlines the purposes of Exu spirits:
"[Quimbanda] is associated particularly with the cultivation of a set of powerful spirit entities called Exus, referred to by their devotees as guardians.
Exus, commonly referred to as ‘spirits of the left’, are not purely evil. Instead, they are more human-like in their qualities and share in human weaknesses. Exu spirits primarily deal with human and material matters as opposed to the ‘spirits of the right’ used in Umbanda, who deal with primarily spiritual matters. Exus are typically called for rituals to arrange rendezvous, force justice, or keep life balance. From inside of the cult, Quimbanderos instead adfirm that Exus cover both Spirit and Matter, and that They simply consider pointless to stick only to one of them. According to the lore provided by trained sorcerers, Exus has a stern and high morality, They simply accept to help people into delicate matters too, like seduction and vengeance, but never with the uninterest in morality and ethic often attributed to them by outsiders.
Another set of deities associated with Quimbanda are not directly derived from the Yoruba religious tradition: Pomba Giras, the female counterparts of Exus. Prominent Pomba Giras such as Pomba Gira Maria Mulambo, also known as ‘Maria of the trash’, are used for specific rituals often relating to their names. Mulambo refers to someone who is wearing ragged clothing or someone who is very unlucky. Therefore, Pomba Gira Maria Mulambo is summoned to overturn or destroy someone and make them a mulambo. A legend about Maria Mulambo says that she drew her title from the fact that she gave up her richness as a princess, so to marry her non-rich lover, and join him to help the poor, before her angry husband had her murdered; because of this, it is not a good idea to ask her to attack somebody without a good reason, for Pomba Giras have devious ways, but a firm (yet crooked to outsiders) morality.
Ogum is the orisha of warfare and metal. Ogum is also known as the Lord at the center of the crossroads. Rituals involving Ogum are typically less aggressive and more justice-bound than that of Exu. Professor David J. Hess speculates that Ogum acts as an intermediate figure between the rituals of Exu in Quimbanda and the rituals of Umbanda, revealing the deep connection between Quimbanda and Umbanda.
A classic Quimbanda ritual, called a trabalho, consists of several parts: a motive, dedication to a spirit, a marginal location, the metal or clay (earthy) material, an alcoholic drink, scent, and food (usually a peppered flour-palm oil mixture, sometimes called miamiami). An example of a trabalho is as follows:
Trabalho 1: " A work of great force, under the protection of [Exu] Tranca Ruas das Almas (Block-Streets-of-the-Souls), to eliminate an enemy. " 1) Go to a crossroads of Exu on a Monday or Friday near midnight, if possible in the company of a member of the opposite sex; 2) greet Ogum with a bottle of light beer, a white or red candle, and a lighted cigar; 3) greet Exu Sir Block-Streets-of-the-Souls by opening seven bottles of rum (cachaça) in the form of a circle, lighting seven red and black candles, and offering seven cigars; 4) put inside a vase (alguidar) and mix the following: manioc flour (farinha da mandioca), palm oil (azeite-de-dendê), and peppers; 5) put on the ground in the center of the circle the name of the person whom one wishes to hurt, and, using a knife, stab this with violence, asking Exu to attend to one's request."
Depending on the purpose of the ritual, aspects of the trabalho will change. For instance, if one desires to seek justice from Exu they will use white candles, rum and a written request. Therefore, certain colors denote different motives in a ritual: white symbolizing an honest and justice-bound motive and red and black representing an aggressive and illicit motive. Other rituals substitute the harsh or spicy smell of cigars for the sweet smell of carnations, thus symbolizing the transformation between harming and helping rituals. Likewise, rituals involving female spirits (Pomba Giras) are less aggressive in their performance. A trabalho to obtain a woman is as follows:
Trabalho 7: "to obtain a woman. " 1) On a Monday or Friday night, go to a female crossroads (T-shaped rather than plus-shaped) and greet Pomba Gira by pouring a little rum, or better yet, champagne or anisette (anis); 2) place two pieces of cloth (pano) on the ground, one red and the other black, and on top of this put five or seven red roses in the shape of a horseshoe; 3) fill a cup of good quality with champagne or anisette; 4) put the name of the desired person in the cup or in the center of the horseshoe; 5) sing a ponto (song) and thank Pomba Gira."
Particular elements of an Exu trabalho remain unchanged in the Pomba Gira trabalho and therefore mark Pomba Giras as the female counterparts of Exu: the colors, the location (male to female variation), the time of day, the day of the week, the scent (smoky), and the container for the food and the flour/palm oil mixture. In a Pomba Gira trabalho, another set of elements indicates a gentler coding: from rum to champagne or anisette, from the absence of flowers to red roses, from pepper in the flour/palm oil mixture to honey, and from a fierce initiatory act to a song, which seems to suit the purpose of the ritual: to obtain a woman. (See Table One for the transition between Exu and Pomba Giras rituals)
Table One: Differences Between Exu and Pomba Gira Rituals
|Code||Exu Trabalho||Pomba Gira Trabalho|
|Drink||Cachaça, Whisky (called Maráfo)||Champagne or Anisette|
|Colors||Red and Black||Red and Black|
|Location||Male Crossroads||Female Crossroads or T crossroads|
|Day||Monday or Friday||Monday or Friday|
|Scent||Cigars||Cigarillos or cigarettes, Red roses|
|Food||Pepper, Flour/palm oil||Honey, Flour/palm oil|
|Container||Metal or clay vase||Metal or clay vase|
‘Marginal locations’ refer to areas containing magical and spiritual significance where rituals are executed. Many Quimbanda rituals are performed at crossroads, as Exu is the Lord of the seven crossroads and Ogum is the Lord of the center of the crossroads. Other marginal locations include the streets at night (since Exus are referred to as ‘people of the streets’), cemeteries, beaches, and forests, all during the nighttime.
Not all Quimbanda practitioners use animal sacrifices, and their use is according to the level of the spirits. There is no animal sacrifice used for crowned Exus. In certain rituals with Kiumbas (aspiring to become Exus), devotees offer sacrificial pigeons, hens, roosters, goats, sheep, and bulls to help a spirit progress in power and capability. Other rituals use animal sacrifices to enlist the help of a spirit to carry out a deed. Adherents defend the practice because they believe that there is no worse animal sacrifice then in slaughterhouses, since those animals are believed to suffer more than at a proper Quimbanda ritual.
Quimbanda originated in South America and developed in the Portuguese Empire. The Atlantic slave trade brought African cultural presence to the Americas. In Brazil, by the mid 19th century the slave population outnumbered the free population. The slave population increased when free men of African descent (libertos) were added to the slave population. The African culture brought by slaves to Brazil slowly mixed with the Indigenous American and European culture. In the large urban centers such as Rio de Janeiro, where the African-slave population was the most concentrated, the Colonial regime enforced a social control system to suppress the rising population. However, instead of suppressing the African slave population, the Colonial regime’s system had the opposite effect; the system divided the slave population into ‘nations’, which preserved, protected, and even institutionalized African religious and secular traditions. The large cities where the slave population was most concentrated preserved Macumba, the forerunner of Quimbanda, and still hold the largest following of Quimbanda.
The Catholic Church has had very little lasting effect on Quimbanda unlike other Afro-Brazilian religions such as Umbanda. The Catholic Church in Brazil was under the direct control of the Portuguese crown so it relied on the state to provide funds, resulting in a very understaffed clergy in Brazil. Subsequently, the main Catholic influence in Brazil was a lay brotherhood. Therefore, the Catholic Church received only a nominal conversion of the African slaves. Ironically, the Catholic Church adopted the Colonial crown’s system of controlling the slave population, which in turn preserved African traditions.
Before Quimbanda became its own separate religion, it was contained inside the religious tradition of Macumba. During the late 19th century and into the mid 20th century, Macumba was a pejorative term for all religions deemed by the white-dominant class as primitive, demonic and superstitious black magic. However, as African culture continued to blend with the native Brazilian culture, Macumba morphed into two religions: Umbanda and Quimbanda. Umbanda represented the ‘whitened’ aspects of Macumba, drawing heavily on spiritual and hierarchical values of French Spiritism and Catholicism. On the other hand, Quimbanda represented the aspects of Macumba that were rejected in the whitening process, becoming ‘the Macumba of Macumbas’. The split between the black and white magic of Macumba has caused much debate over the unity or disunity of Quimbanda and Umbanda. Some believe that Quimbanda and Umbanda represent aspects or tendencies of a single system. Others believe that Quimbanda and Umbanda have morphed into their own religions with their own influences and beliefs.(see Table Two for differences between Quimbanda and Umbanda)
Table Two: Differences Between Quimbanda and Umbanda
|Deities||Ogum, Exus, pomba giras||Exu, Pomba Gira, Pretos-velhos (black olds), Caboclos (natives)Erê, Ogum, Oxalá, Iemanjá, Xângo, Oxóssi, Oxúm, Iansá, Omolú/Obaluayê|
|Rituals||Human/material and spiritual matters||Spiritual matters|
|Beliefs||Spirit progression in power and ability||Christian-like Spirit Hierarchy|
|Influences||Native Brazilian Culture, Yoruba Religion, Kongo spirituality, European witchcraft||Native Brazilian Culture, Catholicism, French Spiritism, Bantu Religion, Yoruba Religion|
Until halfway through the 20th Century, Quimbanda and other Afro-Brazilian religions were not considered to be religions at all. Instead, they were considered to be primitive, superstitious magic passed down intergenerationally from an African-slave past. The black consciousness movement and the women’s movement of the late 1970s created the perfect environment for the emergence of Quimbanda. These movements helped acquire civil liberties during Brazil’s long process of returning to democracy. Historians refer to this process as ‘re-Africanization,’ meaning the "intentional assertion of aesthetics, theologies, and practices considered more African." The re-Africanization movement caused increased popularity and respect for Exus and Pomba Giras spirits previously viewed as illicit and demonic. Thus, the emergence of Quimbanda showed the Afro-Brazilian culture salvaging their traditional African religion from white-dominant class misinterpretations of superstitious black magic. This re-Africanization movement simultaneously protected Quimbanda from the prevalent ideology of "whitening" that influenced other Umbanda and other eclectic Afro-Brazilian religions.
Quimbanda has had a quickly rising membership since its emergence in the 1970s, especially in urban areas of Southern Brazil. However, according to Brazil’s 2000 census less than 1% of the population claimed to belong to Afro-Brazilian religions (including Quimbanda and Umbanda). Although very little of the Brazilian population claims to follow Quimbanda, many people from all social ranks use Quimbanda rituals occasionally. It is a common practice for businessmen to consult Exus before major business dealings.
Afro-American religion (also known as African diasporic religions) are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas in various nations of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southern United States. They derive from traditional African religions with some influence from other religious traditions, notably Christianity.Babalawo
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
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 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.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.Elegua
Elegua (Yoruba: Èṣù-Ẹlẹ́gbára, also spelled Eleggua; known as Eleguá in Latin America) and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands is an Orisha, a deity of roads in the religions of Santeria (Santería), Umbanda, Quimbanda, Candomblé and in Palo Mayombe. He is syncretized with either Saint Michael, Saint Anthony of Padua, or the Holy Child of Atocha.Eshu
Eshu (Yoruba: Èṣù, also known as Echú, Exu or Exú) is an Orisha in the Yoruba religion of the Yoruba people (originating from Yorubaland, an area in and around present-day Nigeria). As the religion has spread around the world, the name of this Orisha has varied in different locations, but the beliefs remain similar.Exu
Exu or EXU may refer to:
Exu, Pernambuco, a city in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil
Exu Formation, a Mesozoic geologic formation in Brazil
A character in the 2013 Brazilian drama film, Riocorrente
The EXU Experience, first album by French composer Oxaï Roura
A variant spelling of the Yoruba spirit, Eshu
Exu, a kind of spirit in Afro-Brazilian Quimbanda
Exu, courtesy name of Empress Lü of China (241–180 BC)Kalunga
The Kalungas are African-Brazilians that descend from people who escaped from slavery, and lived in remote settlements in Goiás state, Brazil. The Kalungas are one group of Quilombola, or people of African origin who live in hinterland settlements founded during the period of escaped slaves. The Kalunga communities of Goiás have existed for approximately 250 years, and first came back into contact with researchers and the federal government in the 1960s. Most of the approximately 5,000 Kalungas, who are of mixed African and indigenous ancestry, live in very poor conditions.All of the area occupied by the Kalungas was officially recognized by the state government in 1991 as a Historical Site and the Kalunga are preserved as Patrimônio Cultural Kalunga. The Kalungas settled in the mountains on both sides of the Paraná River, on slopes and in valleys, called Vãos. Today they occupy the territory of Cavalcante, Monte Alegre e Teresina de Goiás. The four main settlements are in the region of Contenda, the Vão do Calunga, the Vão de Almas, the Vão do Moleque and the Ribeirão dos Bois. Other Kalungas remain in unrecognized communities or in isolation.List of Brazilian drinks
Below is a list of drinks found in Brazilian cuisine.Macumba
Macumba (Portuguese pronunciation: [maˈkũᵐbɐ]) is a syncretic religion practiced in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It is sometimes considered by non-practitioners to be a form of witchcraft or black magic. Macumba was originally used to categorize all religions who practiced or believed in animistic-syncretism during the 1800s. In the 1900s Macumba became a slang term among Brazilians who aren’t affiliated with these religions. The religions that are referred to under the umbrella term Macumba are Candomblé, Giro, and Mesa Blanca. Although the word Macumba may be used among Afro-Brazilian religion praticioners to kindly refer to their practices, it is also used as a pejorative and even a racial slur by evangelical hate groups against these religions.Mãe-de-santo
A Mãe-de-santo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmɐ̃ȷ̃ dʒi ˈsɐ̃tu]) is a priestess of Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda, the Afro-Brazilian religions. In Portuguese those words translate as "mother of [the] saint[s]", which is an adaption of the Yoruba language word iyalorishá, a title given to priest women in African religions. Iyá means mother, and the contraction l'Orishá means "of Orishá". As a product of the syncretism, the word Orishá (elevated or ancestral spirit) was adapted into Portuguese as saint.
The priestesses mães-de-santo are more venerated in African-Brazilian religions than the male priests, the pais-de-santo.
In the Afro-Brazilian religions the priests are the owners of the tradition, knowledge and culture and the ones responsible to pass it on to the new generations because there are no sacred written books.Olodumare
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.Pai-de-santo
A pai-de-santo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpaj dʒi ˈsɐ̃tu]) is a male priest of Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda, the Afro-Brazilian religions. In Portuguese those words translate as "father of [the] saint[s]", which is an adaption from the Yoruba language word babalorishá, a title given to the African religion's priests. Babá means father, and the contraction l'Orishá means "of Orishá". As a product of the syncretism, the word Orishá (elevated or ancestral spirit) was adapted into Portuguese as saint.
In the Afro-Brazilian religions the priests are the owners of the tradition, knowledge and culture and the ones responsible to pass it on to the new generations because there are no sacred written books.Pomba Gira
Pomba Gira is the name of an Afro-Brazilian spirit evoked by practitioners of Umbanda and Quimbanda in Brazil. She is the consort of Exu, who is the messenger of the Orixas in Candomblé. Known by many names, or avatars, Pomba Gira is often associated with the number seven, crossroads, graveyards, spirit possession, and witchcraft.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.Umbanda
Umbanda (Portuguese pronunciation: [ũˈbɐ̃dɐ]) is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism, Spiritism, and Indigenous American beliefs. Although some of its beliefs and most of its practices existed in the late 19th century in almost all Brazil, it is assumed that Umbanda originated in Niterói and surrounding areas in the early 20th century, mainly due to the work of a psychic (medium), Zélio Fernandino de Moraes, who practiced Umbanda among the poor Afro-Brazilian slave descendants. Since then, Umbanda has spread across mainly southern Brazil and neighboring countries like Argentina and Uruguay.
Umbanda has many branches, each one with a different set of beliefs and practices. Some common beliefs are the existence of a Supreme Creator known as Olodumare. Other common beliefs are the existence of deities called Orixás, most of them syncretized with Catholic saints that act as divine energy and forces of nature; spirits of deceased people that counsel and guide practitioners through troubles in the material world; psychics, or mediums, who have a natural ability that can be perfected to bring messages from the spiritual world of Orixás and the guiding spirits; reincarnation and spiritual evolution through many material lives (karmic law) and the practice of charity and social fraternity.Veve
A veve (also spelled vèvè or vevè) is a religious symbol commonly used in different branches of Vodun throughout the African diaspora such as Haitian Vodou. Veves should not be confused with the patipembas used in Palo, nor the pontos riscados used in Umbanda and Quimbanda since these are separate African religions. The veve acts as a "beacon" for the Loa, and will serve as a loa's representation during rituals.Ọlọrun
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.