Brazilian dances


Afoxe Afoxe is a word from the African language Yoruba.

In 1895 this dance first appeared at a Brazilian carnival in Bahia (Salvador), in 7 years after slavery was cancelled in Brazil.

That day when participation in the carnival was allowed a group of African Brazilians tried to

Afoxe symbolises connection of the two parts of life - spiritual and physical.

The dance depicts the gods Orixas which are the intermediaries between the World of Spirits and the World of Land.

Afoxe Oxossi is the hunter and expert on herbs, he is the god of forest and all living things that inhabit it.

His symbols are a bow and arrows. The colours of clothes are green, blue and turquoise; his metals are aluminium and bronze. His day is Thursday.

At present Oxossi is almost forgotten in Africa, but he is widely remembered in Brazil, Cuba and in the other parts of America where earlier the Yoruba culture prevailed. This is due to the fact that many people devoted to Oxossi were enslaved and taken to Brazil and the Antilles.

The cunning, intelligence and caution are the attributes of Oxossi since the hunter, as the history shows, has only one arrow and thus cannot miss the prey. Oxossi is the best at continuous search of perfection.

Afoxe Ogum is the mighty warrior, the God of war and iron, metal and technique. He is the patron of farmers, hunters, carpenters, sculptors, shoemakers, butchers, plumbers, drivers, mechanics and all other specialists whose work is connected to iron.

His symbol is a sword. The colour of clothes is dark-green, blue. His day is Tuesday.

The energy of Ogum in the Nature shows itself with the help of affirmative and aggressive actions. In this energy reside dynamic and liveliness. Machete, chains and knives of all kinds are decorated with his symbols.

Afoxe Yemanja is the mother of all waters and rivers. Her name means also IYA MO EYA - The Mother of Fishes. Her day is Monday.

She dresses in several colours: main ones - white and blue of all shades, and also green and pink. The attribute of Yemanjas power is Agbegbe, a fan made of duck or peacock feathers, decorated with pearls and shells.

Very often she is depicted as a mermaid with long black hair, a crown on her head and a fringe of beads that close her face. Before going out to the open sea the seamen always used to heave 4-7 white roses overboard to ask for her blessing.

Afoxe Oia is the Orixa of wind, the guardian of cemetery and market. Her days are Tuesday and Wednesday. Her clothes are a long skirt of nine colours and a crown on her head.

She has all the symbols that are connected to work, death and hunting: the arrow of Oxossi, spear, spade, machete, carriage (it symbolises death), snake (symbolises spite), image of lightning.

Also there is always a tail in her hands with the help of which she cleans everyone from death. It is called Afiza. This tail is made of a horse tail, with it a stick with beads of 9 colours is intertwined

In Christian syncretism she is compared to Saint Teresa de Jesus.

Afoxe Xango is the Orixa of thunder and lightning, he is fascinated with dancing and drums. He is one of the most mysterious Orixas.

His day is Wednesday. His colours are white and red. These colours imply ice and warmth as the colours that things receive when they are burned by fire. His symbol is the two-sided axe.

Xango is the King of all Kings.

He is the main enemy of the god of iron - Orixa Ogum.

Afoxe Oxum is the woman Orixa which shows strive in life. She is the mistress of the river and the goddess of love. A Nigerian legend says that she was born in a very beautiful shell on a river bank. She dresses in yellow and white and always wears her crown. Her day is Monday.

According to Nigerian legends, Oxum exchanged her long hair with Yemanja and received for it fabrics of very beautiful colours. Out of hair left to her she started making nice hair styles and thus created hairdressing.

Her symbols are a mirror and a knife. Her dance is called the dance of springs.

Oxun is the source of profusion, wealth and birth. In Africa her followers wear necklaces made of copper beads.

Afoxe Orunmila is the one who wakes Orixas at dusk, the witness of creation which knows all languages, the predictor of the future, the historian. His name consists of the words: RO - fall, EMI - breath, and ELA - the Universe or creation. In this way, the full sound of the name is ORUNMILA, and its meaning is knowledge, cognition, understanding - the essence or breath of the Universe.

Afoxe Obaluaye is the Orixa which has the patronage of infectious deseases. His day is Monday. He is the most dangerous among all African Orixas because any epidemic is much more frightening then fire or other cataclysms