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Salvador da Bahia
In the video on the role of Candomblé in the culture and everyday life of people in Salvador da Bahia, the central place is taken by music, which is not a mere coincidence. It is essential for “the transendence of vibration and energy” since it serves as a connecting link between the worlds of the citizens and the spirits known as orisas (CGTN America, 2019). This expression means that the religious belief under consideration implies the absence of Christian notions, such as hell or heaven, which are substituted by the need to reject these limitations. It is conditional upon the perspective of the believers, who demonstrate their awareness of the necessity to “fulfill their destiny” rather than appear a good or a bad person (CGTN America, 2019).
This approach excludes the pressure of the above extremes and helps the followers of this religion find their place in life in the most efficient way. Moreover, the meaning of this phrase is related to the importance of including music in rituals for receiving energy for performing essential tasks. They are intended to make sure that one’s existence is not in vain.
In turn, this religious music, which is one of the critical elements of Candomblé, leads to the emergence of new thoughts and ideas on human paths. They are primarily linked to the significance of rhythm for passing over into the realm of orisas to receive the information for further growth (CGTN America, 2019). This requirement positively correlates with the desire of the followers of the examined religious belief to increase their “awareness and sensitivity” (CGTN America, 2019).
These considerations inspire the dominant role of destiny as opposed to the freedom of choice, which is still present in people but limited by the will of spirits, which are wiser than people. They also possess much more knowledge regarding the possibility of any events. From this perspective, the inclusion of music in rituals contributes to the physical manifestation of orisas in this world by using human bodies for this purpose and thereby guiding them. In addition, the inspiration stemming from this source confirms the existence of a definite connection between the realms, which is otherwise can hardly be proved.
The shelter, which is provided by the Yoruba gods to their followers, can be determined as the reliance on the spiritual realm. In other words, it is presented by the symbolic assistance, which cannot be obtained in any other way when the world, which the people are accustomed to, is destroyed by forces out of their control. Thus, for example, the case of the earthquake in Haiti is one of such situations in which the spirits are more useful for the believers than any societal organization (VICE Life, 2016).
However, their involvement is not limited to the presence in people during the rituals. The physical manifestation of their care about the population can be seen from the actions of their followers, such as Vodou priestess Manbo Katy, who helped the woman left without a house (VICE Life, 2016). Therefore, these numerous deities, who respond to the needs of those involved in the communication with them, improve the situations of the affected persons in the case of disasters. Meanwhile, these deeds are not ascribed to the priests, and the benefits are directly associated with the Yoruba gods.
In addition, the entertaining part of the process of cooperating with the spirits can be seen from an outsider’s perspective. The people of other religions, such as Christianity, do not realize the connection between their beliefs and Vodou, whereas they have many common elements. According to Katy, Vodouism does not contradict it since Christian prayers are also used during the meetings (VICE Life, 2016). However, they are viewed as something less serious, which allows considering them as entertainment despite the fact that the initial idea is to gain the assistance of spirits rather than simply dance and sing. In this way, the meaning of the Vodou rituals is different for its followers and the outsiders, and the latter cannot fully grasp their significance for the involved people’s lives.
As for me, the worlds providing me with shelter are not connected directly to any of the existing religions or beliefs. Meanwhile, they also cannot be described as purely materialistic since spirituality is important for guiding me in life. From this point of view, shelter is associated with the awareness of the balance in nature and its dominant influence on people’s perceptions. Thus, for instance, in hard times, one usually tends to consider the obstacles on the way or any possible challenges as negative phenomena. However, the change of the outlook while referring to the desire of nature to restore harmony contributes to the formation of the opposite opinions.
Once a person accepts the fact that everything that happens to them is meant to help through promoting harmonious existence, the situation immediately shifts for the better. Therefore, the worlds giving me shelter can be described as the mechanisms ensuring the presence of balance in my life, which are spiritual and natural even though they cannot be explicitly examined.
The emphasis on the importance of love in any religion serves as their basis, but the perception of this notion differs. As can be seen from the consideration of Christianity and the Yoruba beliefs, the latter’s concept seems more universal than that of the former’s followers (VICE Life, 2016). In the conversation of Katy with a Christian man, he seemed confused about the fact of her belonging to Vodouism (VICE Life, 2016). For him, this fact appears to be significant since he becomes distant and tries to avoid the conversation, which can be viewed as the lack of acceptance of those with varying beliefs. Meanwhile, this factor is crucial for love since, in the religious sense, it is unconditional, and the attitudes of Katy to people, which are equal for her, indicates the greater importance of love in Voudouism.
In turn, this question is directly related to self-acceptance, which is vital for accepting other people. In this case, Voudouism also demonstrates a higher degree of involvement in the followers’ lives compared to Christianity. The rituals, which include dancing and playing music, appear to be connected to the need for free self-expression, allowing one to form healthy attitudes towards oneself and the world. In contrast to them, the principles of Christian morals are based more on the need to readjust people’s behavior when it contradicts religious norms. This stance implies certain discomfort when one does not comply with them, whereas in Voudouism, there is no such problem as feeling uncomfortable during the meetings. This circumstance also adds to the conclusion that love in this religious belief is a more universal notion compared to that in Christianity, and the former’s followers do not attempt to change others.
CGTN America. (2019). Salvador da Bahia is Brazil’s most African city and their culture is thriving [Video]. YouTube. Web.
VICE Life. (2016). Meet the Vodou priestess summoning healing spirits in post-earthquake Haiti [Video]. YouTube. Web.