Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion practiced in Brasil by the Povo de Santo. This practice originated in the city of Salavador,Bahia,Brasil which was at one time the main commercial distribution of African Slaves to other parts of Brazil, and today holds the densest population of Afro-Brazilians in all of Brazil.
The rituals involve offerings and animal sacrifices, healing,dance/trance, and percussion. Candomblé draws inspiration from a variety of the people of the African Diaspora, but mainly features aspects of Yoruba Orisha veneration.
The Candomblé ritual (toque) has two parts: the preparation, attended only by priests and initiates, which may start a week in advance; and a festive public “mass” and banquet that starts in the late evening and ends around midnight.
In the first part, initiates and aides wash and iron the costumes for the ceremony, and decorate the house with paper flags and festoons, in the colors favored by the Orixas that are to be honored on that occasion. They also prepare food for the banquet. Some domestic animals are slaughtered; some parts reserved for sacrifice, the rest is prepared for the banquet. On the day of the ceremony, starting in the early morning, jogo de búzios are performed, and sacrifices are offered to the desired Orixás, and to the messenger spirit (Exú in Ketu).
In the public part of the ceremony, saint-children invoke and “incorporate” Orixás, falling into a trance-like state. After having fallen into trance, the priest-spirits perform dances symbolic of the Orixá’s attributes, while the babalorixá or father of saint (leading male priest) leads songs that celebrate the spirit’s deeds. The ceremony ends with a banquet.
Candomblé music, an essential part of the ritual, derives from African music and has had a strong influence in other popular (non-religious) Brazilian music styles. The word batuque, for instance, has entered the Brazilian vernacular as a synonym of “rhythmic percussion music”.