Candomblé, a religion practiced primarily in South America and inspired by older African beliefs, makes much use of animal sacrifice. Researchers writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine carried out interviews with priests, priestesses and adherents of the religion, documenting the role sacrifice plays in their beliefs.
A team of researchers conducted the structured and semi-structured interviews. A total of 29 animal species were used during sacrificial rituals, according to the priests and priestesses. Animals are sacrificed and offered to their deities, known as orishas, for the prosperity of all life.
The practice of sacrifice is present in several cultures, and is fundamental to many religions including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Candomblé, it is believed that some essence of the sacrificed animal ‘feeds’ one of several supernatural deities known as orishas, who will in turn attend to the believers’ requests and desires, healing diseases and solving financial or personal problems.