Festival of St. Lazarus

28-Sep-21
JM
Here’s a program from our archives.

Festival of Saint Lazarus

Ambience: Candomble groups outside church

This time of year, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, they celebrate St. Lazarus’s day, and it’s a blending of the country’s European and African roots. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

On St. Lazarus’s Day in Bahia, you can go to church and hear the traditional Catholic prayers being sung. If the mass is packed with worshippers, they’ll have speakers broadcasting the ceremony outside the church.

The slaves brought to Brazil from Africa were not initially allowed to worship their own religion, so they took the names of the saints in Portuguese Catholicism and they gave them the identities of African deities. Over the years, this dual form of worship has blurred the lines between the saints and the gods – especially on the saint’s days. In Brazil, they call it syncretismo .

And gathered nearby outside the church are some of the local Candomble groups. Like Macumba and voodoo, the candomble religion is based on African spiritism. On this day, there are songs and dances to invoke the spirit of Omolu – the deity associated with St. Lazarus. Like the saint, Omolu is credited with curing disease.

It’s possible to stand outside the church, hear the sounds and rhythms of both African and Europe simultaneously, and experience Brazilian syncretismo firsthand.

We’ve been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Festival of St. Lazarus

In the Brazilian state of Bahia, St. Lazarus day is a celebration that blends European and African heritages.
Air Date:09/28/2021
Scientist:JM
Transcript:

28-Sep-21 JM Here's a program from our archives. Festival of Saint Lazarus Ambience: Candomble groups outside church This time of year, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, they celebrate St. Lazarus's day, and it's a blending of the country's European and African roots. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. On St. Lazarus's Day in Bahia, you can go to church and hear the traditional Catholic prayers being sung. If the mass is packed with worshippers, they'll have speakers broadcasting the ceremony outside the church. The slaves brought to Brazil from Africa were not initially allowed to worship their own religion, so they took the names of the saints in Portuguese Catholicism and they gave them the identities of African deities. Over the years, this dual form of worship has blurred the lines between the saints and the gods - especially on the saint's days. In Brazil, they call it syncretismo . And gathered nearby outside the church are some of the local Candomble groups. Like Macumba and voodoo, the candomble religion is based on African spiritism. On this day, there are songs and dances to invoke the spirit of Omolu - the deity associated with St. Lazarus. Like the saint, Omolu is credited with curing disease. It's possible to stand outside the church, hear the sounds and rhythms of both African and Europe simultaneously, and experience Brazilian syncretismo firsthand. We've been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.