Brazilians are predominantly Catholics, but there are several Indian animistic and African religions that continue to survive, such as the ritual of Candomblé. Candomblé is one of the most orthodox sects, which came from Africa along with the Yoruba, the Nago and the Jeje tribes. The Afro-Brazilian rituals are performed in a kind of Temple (terreiro in Yoruba language). Not all ceremonies are open to the public. Each member of the sect has its own orixá (god), that watches over him from birth. A priest or priestess makes known which god it is by throwing a handful of shells. Each god has its’ own personality and special history. Gods compete among themselves for power and leadership. The orixá are divided into male and female, but some can change gender. An example is Logunedé, the son of two male gods, Ogun and Oxoss. Another is Oxumaré, who is male for six months of the year and female during the other six months. Homosexuality is, not surprisingly, simply accepted. During the rituals the gods are offered food, and drink and cigarettes. Every god desires extra offerings. For example: to please Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea, an offering of perfume, white and blue flowers, rice and fried fish must be made. Each deity also has to be honoured at a special time and place.
The god Xangô can be honoured on the rocks, Oxósse in the woods or a park. Some Candomblé rituals, such as the Jogo dos Búzios are held to predict fortunes and the future and to recount previous relationships with the gods. Even politicians take part in this ritual, particularly to predict the outcome of elections.
There are many other cults in the country. Catholicism is still the official religion, but interest appears to be waning.
Churches close down or become dilapidated, because there are no funds or priests to restore them. Most Brazilians only attend church during funerals, marriages and christening parties.