Candomblé: A small glossary


Alapini: supreme high priest of the Egungun cult.

Axé: sacred energy, vital strength that can be found in man, animals and vegetables.

Babalaò: high priest of Ifà, the divination Orixà.

Babalorixà: same as pãe de santo, leader of the religious community.

Barracão: the room in which the public rituals take place.

Bùzio: shells that are used for divination.

Caboclo: divinity that represents an indigenous spirit, in Candomblé de caboclo and in the Angolan Umbanda.

Candomblé: Afro-Brazilian religion. Literally a Negro dance or musical instrument.

Ebo: offering, or sacrificed animal offered to the divinities.

Saint Son/Daughter: all those that have accomplished the initiation ritual.

Ifà: the Yorouban god of destiny.

Ialorixà: the leader of the Candomblé community, with most inner Axé. In Brazil this role is more commonly called mãe de santo.

Nago: ancient tribe originating from Nigeria.

Olorun: the supreme divinity of creation.

Roça: it’s the same as terreiro. An open space surrounded by trees.

Roda: the circle that is formed by the priestesses in dance.

Sapucaì: this is the name of the famous sambodrome “Merquès de Sapucaì”, that was built in Rio de Janeiro in 1984. The architect that planned the sambodrome is Oscar Niemeyer, this structure can hold a crowd of 88.500 people.

Terreiro: the houses and the physical spaces that make up the Candomblé house.

Xiré (Obà Xiré): this is the greeting that is given to Obà, the Orixà of the river Niger and third wife of Xangô. Obà is a strong divinity, she is an energetic warrior, often she is referred to as a huntress. Her sister is Oya (Iansã).