Sunday, December 31, 2017

American Gods, African Goddess, Brazilian New Year's Eve

While reading American Gods (by Neil Gaiman), I caught myself revisiting the culture of my country of origin, searching for the "gods" and folkloric figures that were brought there a long time ago. In a mostly Christian country such as Brazil, one could assume that other religions would be confined to smaller groups of people, probably not making it to the mainstream culture. But it turns out that some old gods and folkloric figures from unexpected places enjoy great popularity in the mainstream culture of Brazil.

One such figure is Yemanjá, the Nigerian queen of the seas. There are statues of her on every other beach in Brazil.  She is a popular figure, mentioned in songs, books, etc. There are holidays dedicated to this African goddess and her worshipers wear white and make offers to the seas. On New Year's Eve, it became a tradition for Brazilians from all sorts of backgrounds, religious or not, to wear white and go to the beach. What happens next might seem a bit odd for outsiders: at midnight, people jump over 7 waves, making their wishes to Yemanjá (or whatever they believe in).

Another interesting figure is Saci Pererê, it could be roughly described as the Brazilian Leprechaun (in terms of type of creature and popularity). The Saci Pererê also grants wishes to whomever catches him. But, in my opinion, he's way naughtier than the Leprechaun. He also looks cooler (again, in my opinion): he's a one legged black boy with a red cap. The thing I find most interesting about him is that he has origins in the Indigineous folklore and was later adopted and modified by African slaves to entertain their children. He goes waaay back, from the deep roots of Brazil. :)

I feel that this post needed some conclusion, but I'm terrible at those, so I'm ending it here. Happy New Year or something. :)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Comfort Zone

Here are some random personal thoughts about the so called comfort zone:

This whole thing about "getting out of the comfort zone" makes little sense to anxious people. For anxious people there is the "uncomfortable zone" and the "absolutely hell zone". I wish I could get in the comfort zone for a change.

They say it's important to get out of the comfort zone in order to grow and have more exciting experiences, but I feel that most of the crazy/audacious things I've done in my life were because I was trying to "break free" of my "uncomfortable zone" (i.e.: trying to find my comfort zone). Sometimes I find it, but I never manage to stay there for long.

That's it. Tchau!