General (see below)

Candomblé - origins (click on the text on the left to go to the page)

Candomblé - Orixás (click on the text on the left to go to the page)

Candomblé - Legends (in the making)

The predominant religion in Bahia is Catholicism, as in the rest of the country, and was brought to this country by the Portuguese. These colonists, when they arrived here, tried to convert the Indians and the black slaves with brute force and obliged them to abandon their own belief and religion. Nevertheless this indigenous beliefs and, especially, the African religion were so strong and deeply ingrained that they were able to “survive” the Catholic persecution. The blacks invented a correspondence between their divinities and the Catholic saints. This way they could celebrate their own cults to their own divinities under the pretext that they were venerating Catholic saints. This correspondence between African gods and Catholic saints is called religious "sincretism", a term that today, in its more large meaning, indicates the mixing - "tolerated" by the local Catholic church - of rituals and customs of the itself church with other ones originating from the African beliefs.

The Afro-Bahian religion, generally called Candomblé, exercises until today a big influence on an important part of the population of Bahia. As the majority of the population descends from Africans (in Salvador that share runs up to about 80%, including mestizos), the candomblé with its gods and goddesses, called Orixás, are well known in this Country of All Saints! Thanks to the practice of Candomblé, the essential characteristics of the cultural and religious identity of the black Africans, turned into slaves in Brazil, have been well kept. For this reason, the rest of this chapter "religion" will talk only about Candomblé, as it is also responsible for one of the most important aspects of the personality of the Bahian people, which is faith.

Orixás at "Dique do Tororó"

Beside Catholicism and Candomblé, there exist a big number of other religions and beliefs in Bahia, which their loyal followers, such as Protestants, Adventists, Testifiers of Jehovah, Spiritists, Buddhists etc. Under the local and typical beliefs, we have to give a special mention to the Macumba, a mixture of Spiritism, Candomblé and domestic indigenous belief.