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Cultural Gifts Afro-Brazilians Are Responsible For Creating And Sharing With The World

Brazil has the unfortunate history of being the country in the Western Hemisphere that transported the largest number of slaves from Africa.

This also means that the cultural legacy of Afro-Brazilians has left an impact on everything from the music to the food of Brazil. The following traditions, entertainment, and customs are just some of the ways negroes or pretos (the term used in Brazil to people with noticeably African features and skin color), and pardos (multiracial Brazilians) are influencing Brazil. Essentially, Brazil is beholden to their Afro-Brazilian population for some of the most iconic Brazilian things.

1. Samba


It is hard to imagine that the national music of Brazil was under police oppression until the 1930s. Some people were even arrested for dancing or playing samba publicly in the 19th century. Now, decades later, it is one of the most celebrated cultural contributions Brazil has made to the world.

2. Capoeira

African slaves in Brazil started practicing the martial art form of capoeira. Although regions of Brazil reprimanded Africans from practicing capoeira, Africans would keep practicing the art form, saying that it was a dance. This allowed them to learn to fight against their oppressors while seemingly dancing. The acrobatic movements are performed low to the ground and done with music.

3. Pagode music

This Brazilian country folk type of music started in the 1950s with the fusion of “Coco” and “Calango de roda” rhythms and the lyrics talk about love, nature, country life, booze and animals. Many Afro-Brazilians have helped pioneer this type of music and their legacy on the art form is palpable.

4. Flavorful cuisines

Some dishes that were already in existence in Brazil, such as feijoada, were given variations by ingredients and cooking styles used by African slaves. Expensive ingredients for the feijoada had to be substituted for more affordable substitutions such as pig ears, beans and manioc flour. The acaraje dish found around Brazil that is made from black-eyed peas is also found in Nigeria and Ghana.

5. African diasporic religions

Different types of religions practiced by blacks stem from their African roots, such as Candomblé. These different religions were brought over by African slaves to Brazil and are still practiced throughout the country, mostly in urban centers.

It took centuries for Brazil to finally recognize these important contributions from Afro-Latinos and stop criminalizing and ostracizing their contributions. Now the world can eat, drink and be merry thanks to the customs of Afro-Brazilians.

READ: The Brazilian Government Is Forcing Black People To Prove Their Blackness When Applying For Government Jobs

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