Candomblé means 'dance in honor of the gods' and music and dance are an important part of Candomblé ceremonies. Candomblé originated with African slaves in Brazil. It is a mixture of traditional Fon, Bantu, and Yoruba beliefs blended with a generous portion of Catholicism. Catholic saints that bore a resemblance to African deities and ancestor spirits were worshiped since slaves were persecuted for the worship of non-Christian deities. The African slaves also fraternized with the indigenous population of Brazil. The commingling of indigenous beliefs enforced the belief in ancestor worship.
The religion was persecuted vigorously until the 1970s when laws against public gatherings were relaxed. At the time of this writing Candomblé is popular throughout Brazil, with over two million followers. It is especially popular in the Northeast area known as Salvador da Bahia. Citizens of African nations visit Brazil to learn about the faith of their ancestors.
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