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

Abstract

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). 

References

Abímbólá, K. (2006) Yorùbá Culture: A Philosophical Account. Birmingham: Ìrókó Academic Publishers.

Andrade, C. D. T. (2014) Lexicon Across Borders: A Lexical Study on Trans-Lexicon Use in the Ecuadorian-Colombian Border Towns of Tulcan-Ipiales. Doctoral thesis. Quito: Pontifical Catholic University. http://repositorio.puce.edu.ec/bitstream/handle/22000/10923/10.25.000059.pdf?sequence=4.

Bechara, E. (2009) Moderna Gramática Portuguesa. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira.

Beniste, J. (2014) Òrun – Àiyé. O encontro entre dois mundos. O Sistema de relacionamento Nagô-Yorubá entre o Céu e a Terra. Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil.

Cabrera, L. (2004) Iemanjá & Oxum. Iniciações, Ialorixás e Olorixás. São Paulo: Editora Universidade de São Paulo.

Cascudo, L. C. (2004) História da alimentação no Brasil. São Paulo: Global.

de Sousa Jr, V. C. (2009) O Banquete Sagrado. Notas sobre os de comer em terreiros de Candomblé. Salvador: Atalho.

de Souza, P. R. (2015) Food in African Brazilian Candomblé. Scripta Instituti Doneriani Aboensis 26: 264–80. Retrieved on 13 June 2017 from https://ojs.abo.fi/ojs/index.php/scripta/article/view/846. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30674/scripta.67457

dos Santos, J. E. (1986) Os Nagô e a morte. Pàde, Àsèsè e o culto Égun na Bahia. Petropolis: Vozes.

Douglas, M. (1997) Deciphering a meal. In C. Counihan and P. V. Esterik (eds) Food and Culture: A Reader 36–53. New York, London: Routledge.

Fatunmbi, A. F. (1992) Awo, Ifá and the Theology of Orisha Divination. New York: Original Publications.

Fischler, C. (1988) Food, self and identity. Social Science Information 27(2): 275–93.https://doi.org/10.1177/053901888027002005. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/053901888027002005

Harvey, G. (2013) Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315729572

Harvey, G. (2015) Respectfully eating or not eating: putting food at the centre of religious study. Scripta Instituti Doneriani Aboensis 26 (Religion and Food): 32–46. Retrieved on 13 June 2017 from http://ojs.abo.fi/index.php/scripta/article/view/849. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30674/scripta.67445

Lévi-Strauss, C. (2010a) Mitológicas – Vol. 1. O cru e o cozido. São Paulo: Cosac Naify.

Lévi-Strauss, C. (2010b) Mitológicas – Vol. 3. A origem dos modos à mesa. São Paulo: Cosac Naify.

Lody, R. (2004) Santo também come. Rio de Janeiro: Pallas.

Lody, R. (2012) Interview at Bienal do livro, São Paulo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6l9ypoWH5o.

Montanari, M. (2008) Comida como cultura. São Paulo: Editora Senac São Paulo.

Parés, L. (2006) A Formação do Candomblé. História e ritual da nação Jeje na Bahia. São Paulo: Editora Unicamp.

Radel, G. (2006) A Cozinha Africana da Bahia. Salvador: Lei de incentivo à cultura/Ministério da cultura.

Reis, A. M. (2010) Candomblé : A panela do segredo. São Paulo: Mandarim.

Published
2018-11-09
How to Cite
Rodrigues de Souza, P. (2018). Candomblé’s eating myths. Body and Religion, 2(2), 167-189. https://doi.org/10.1558/bar.36488
Section
Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.