Abstract

The present article highlights the way in which a central African worldview served as the structural backbone for the development of the caboclo spirit as conceptualized by countless devotees in Bahia, Brazil. This study is chiefly interested in the traditions of caboclo veneration common outside of explicitly Afro-Brazilian religious houses of worship, and especially among those who affirm Catholicism as their primary religious identity. By placing over a decade and a half of fieldwork in Bahia, Brazil, in dialogue with the historiography on Afro-Brazilian religions and historical research on central African Catholicism and Bantu culture, this article argues that caboclos might serve as cogent reminders that an important facet of the African legacy in Brazil can be found at Catholic saint parties and therapeutic “white table” sessions.

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