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Diversity ‘Takes care of me and my family for a long time’, says Bruno Gagliasso when visiting Babalorixá in Bahia

Babalorixá Balbino Daniel de Paula (left) and actor Bruno Gagliasso (right) (Reproduction/Instagram)

Priscilla Peixoto – from Cenarium

MANAUS – On Saturday morning, 2, actor Bruno Gagliasso posted on Instagram the visit he made to the candomblé temple Ilê Axé Opô Aganju, located in Lauro de Freitas, in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, Bahia. During the visit to one of the most traditional terreiros in the state, tumbled by the Artistic and Cultural Heritage Institute (Ipac), Bruno, in a tone of gratitude, wrote about the happiness of meeting again with the saint father and mother of saints dear to him and his family.

“The happiness of bumping heads and taking the blessing from those who have taken care of me and my family for so long. Viva Pai Balbino and Mãe Fabiana de Paula”, posted Bruno, posing next to father Balbino Daniel de Paula, founder of the terreiro that, in 2022, celebrates 50 years of existence.

A well-known and respected figure in Brazil and abroad by practitioners and supporters of candomblé, a religion of African origin, Babalorixá Balbino Daniel de Paula, known as Obaràyí, 62, founded the terreiro in 1972. Two years later, the place was renamed as Sociedade Civil Religiosa Ilê Axé Opô Aganjú. The place also develops social work with the Nursery Vovó Ana childcare, which serves children from the community in Lauro de Freitas.

Bruno and businessman Carlos Tourinho next to Balbino and Mother Fabiana (Reproduction/Twitter)

Bruno and family

Married to actress Giovanna Ewbank, Bruno and Giovanna have been in the news and social networks for being open to new possibilities, breaking taboos by speaking openly about religion and for one of the most talked about initiatives, the adoption of their children Titi and Bless. In 2016, during a trip to Malawi, a country located in the southeast of Africa, Bruno and Giovanna started the adoption process of the girl Chissomo, Titi.

“For me, it was also a reunion. Giovanna had this reunion with her, because they certainly know each other from other lives. When I arrived [in Malawi, where the couple met Titi], the expectation was very high because Giovanna had already been well received by Chissomo and with me it was the same thing. I can’t forget her running with open arms. She had never seen me before, hugged me and came… It is very strong”, reported Bruno, in an interview to Agência O Globo.

Their second child was also adopted in Malawi, in 2019. The 4-year-old boy named Bless was welcomed by the family in a celebratory mood. “It is with great joy that we communicate the arrival of Bless Ewbank Gagliasso, the second son of the couple Giovanna Ewbank and Bruno Gagliasso”, expressed the official statement from the couple’s press office at the time.

Giovanna Ewbank, Bruno Gagliasso, and their three children (Reproduction/Instagram)

Without ties and prejudices

According to the general coordinator of the Articulação Amazônica dos Povos e Comunidades de Matriz Tradicionais de Matriz Africana (Aratrama) – Amazon Articulation of the Traditional People and Communities of African Origin in english -, father Alberto Jorge, Bruno’s attitude of showing that he is a candomblé adept and thanking for the care given to his family, freely and without fear of judgment, denotes, above all, courage.

“His attitude in publicizing it is something very beautiful. In a country so full of prejudice, it is also an act of courage in breaking paradigms and the hypocrisy that society insists on keeping invisibilizing the black population and all the African worldviews. This is positive, and who wishes if all the famous people and personalities would assume in such a natural way that they attend and seek our care. This happens because there are still those who consider that looking for a saint father or mother is something inferior, a result of ignorance, in fact”, comments Father Alberto.

Candomblé

The content around what candomblé is about is rich and extensive. In short, it is the union of several African cults brought by enslaved blacks from Africa to Brazil during the time when the country was a Portuguese colony. It is believed that the union arose in Bahia, spread through the Northeast and, then, spread to the rest of the country.

Because it comes from the mixture of people, the religion is not practiced in a single way; in fact, the candomblé as we know it in Brazil does not exist in other countries. For this reason it is not considered a totally African religion, but an Afro-Brazilian one.

Besides faith, religion keeps alive the culture and ancestry of various people (Reproduction/Fora do Eixo)

Orixás

Meaning “dance with drums”, the religion worships the orixás, almost always revered through offerings, dances and songs. For being forbidden to fully experience their religion, the slaves used the images of saints as a way to escape censorship and punishment. A fusion that results in “religious syncretism”.

In spite of the fusion, there are terreiros and candomblecists that do not bow to syncretism and fight for the rescue of their origins. A curious point is that, in Brazil, the monotheistic religion that believes in the existence of the soul and in life after death has gained a more matriarchal perspective, different from Africa, where the patriarchal form predominates.

Federal Law 6.292, of December 15, 1975, made certain terreiros de candomblé (Afro-Brazilian religion) a material or immaterial heritage that can be protected, preserving the cultural heritage and ancestry.