Brazils religious landscape is as diverse as its ethnic and geographic diversity. Accordingly, the majority of Brazilians in the country identify as Roman Catholic (64.4%), thus reflecting its historical relationship with Portugal and the Catholic Church.
In Rio de Janeiro you can see God everywhere. From almost anywhere I stand in the huge city of Rio, I am able to see the magnificent 130-foot statue of Christ the Redeemer looking over the city.
Brazil What is the Brazilian religion? an overwhelming number of Catholics, and it is easy to see the influence that the Catholic Church has on everyday life in Brazil. It is impossible to walk the streets without running into a vendor selling the ever-popular colorful ribbon bracelets printed with the name Senhor do Bonfim, meaning Our Lord of a Good End.
Spiritual matters are very prominent in the lives of Brazilians, and early into my stay here, I learned that religion is not a taboo topic of discussion, as it often is in the United States.
While Catholicism is the most popular religion in Brazil, syncretism of different religions and spiritual beliefs is extremely common. The Catholicism practiced in Brazil is heavily influenced by African and Indigenous religions.
Many Brazilian Catholics participate in the rituals of the What is the Brazilian religion? religions and believe in orixás, or gods of the indigenous people. The popular myths and legends that are told in Brazil are an example of how indigenous and Afro-Brazilian beliefs are present throughout the country What is the Brazilian religion?. Many of these Brazilian legends have messages that pertain to religious beliefs, moral behavior or the act of sinning.
One of these legends is the legend of O Boto The Dolphinwhich originated in the Amazon, but is told throughout Brazil. According to the legend, at nighttime an Amazon River dolphin transforms into a handsome man who seduces women, impregnates them, and then returns to dolphin form once again before sunrise. The legend of the boto served, and still serves today, as a way for unmarried Amazon What is the Brazilian religion?
to justify an unwanted pregnancy. Another well-known character from Brazilian folklore is the Headless Mule. The Headless Mule is the ghost of a woman who has been cursed by God for committing the sin of sacrilege against the church or for fornication with a priest.
The woman is condemned to roam the countryside after sunset as a fire-spewing headless mule.
It is easy to see that both of these myths have their origin in religious roots, as one serves as a justification for a sin while the other serves as a warning of the consequences of committing a sin.
While both of these myths are known throughout the whole country of Brazil, they carry the most weight and significance with the indigenous people of the Amazon.
Today the Brazilian government recognizes a separation of church and state, and each citizen has the right to freedom of religion. The dominant Catholic Church coexists in harmony with various indigenous religions. Not only does the Brazilian government allow freedom of religion, but it also plays an active role in preserving the religious and cultural traditions of the indigenous people.
While indigenous people are on their land reserves, they are outside of the Brazilian law.
Islam in Brazil
This ensures that the Brazilian law will not interfere with ancient customs and practices of the indigenous people. Brazil is a country with extraordinary diversity comprised of peoples from many different ethnic backgrounds.
Miscegenation and continual contact between the different ethnicities has led to the development of a Brazilian national identity that recognizes the cultures of the indigenous people while also including traditions from Portuguese immigrants and representations of popular culture, such as Carnival and soccer.