Candomblé’s eating myths

religion stated in food language

  • Patricia Rodrigues de Souza Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo
Keywords: taste, food, food language, Candomblé, offerings


All religions have particular relationships with food. Either through fasts, interdictions, sacred foods, banquets or rituals involving food, religious values can be represented, expressed and reinforced through taste. Some religions, such as African Brazilian Candomblé, have food systems as complex as a language. Each of its deities has a favorite food, prepared according to strict rules, similar to a grammar. A slight modification of the ingredients or of the way of preparing a food offering could change its meaning and cause unexpected, undesirable effects. In Candomblé there is no ritual without food. Depending on the goal, food is served to the deities but also shared with mortals, or only to mortals but representing the deities, and sometimes foods are not eaten at all but are one element of cures, being passed over a person, e.g. in the popcorn bath discussed here. 

Author Biography

Patricia Rodrigues de Souza, Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo

Patricia Rodrigues de Souza has been a chef de cuisine and is currently a PhD student in religious studies at the Pontifical University of São Paulo, Brazil. She has taught Brazilian cookery and lectured on food studies. Patricia has observed religions, especially Brazilian Candomblé, through the lenses of food practices and has published a book in which she compares religions in terms of food practices: Religion at the Table: A Sample of Religions and Their Food Practices (São Paulo: Griot, 2015). 


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How to Cite
Rodrigues de Souza, P. (2018). Candomblé’s eating myths. Body and Religion, 2(2), 167-189.