Monday, April 6, 2009

You know you are in Brazil when

You know you are in Brazil when you go to the grocery store and it is all decorated with palm fronds in celebration of the Catholic Church’s Palm Sunday celebration.

The grocery store? Yep.

(My personal favorite: the holy spice rack.)

I am also constantly surprised by the presence of crucifixes everywhere: the butcher shop, the construction supply store, the bank, the post office, the federal police station, the bar – everywhere!

While Brazil is famous for being a “Catholic Country,” the truth of the matter is that churches are mostly filled with older women and small children. Most of the flock seems to have strayed.

But cultural traditions die hard.

There are some who would cast disparaging glances at offerings set out on street corners or on the beach for Candomblé deities – but then again they might themselves bring offerings to a statue of the Virgin Mary. The one pictured here is in the city park near our house. It is always surrounded by flowers and other gifts. Many days it is nearly ablaze with candles melted into fiery blobs near her feet.

While I have spoken many times about the confidence Luiz and I have with the National Cancer Institute where he is being seen, there is that big statue of Mary on the fourth floor ward with all those hand-written notes begging for good health slipped under her toes. Can’t hurt, I suppose…

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