Bahia is the part of Brazil where Afro-Brazilian culture is strongest. The Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé arose here and is still vibrant in everyday life. Candumblé is based on the worship of Orixás, or deities, mostly of the Yoruba tradition. While living in Salvador, I often heard references to Iamanjá, the orixá of the sea, and it was nice to think of her every time I went surfing.
I had a very special opportunity to go to a Candomblé ceremony with friends from our neighborhood in Candeal. During the ceremony, led by a Mãe de Santo, everyone sang songs for the different orixás and the Mãe de Santo became possessed with the spirits of each one. I couldn’t take pictures during the ceremony, but afterwards I was able to snap some shots of the beautiful room in which the ceremony was held, with the orixás painted on the walls.