The Corner

How The Other Half Lives Iii

The Hindu side of Catholicism is much in evidence in Rio. West African deities live on, lightly disguised as saints. The intermediary between these spirits and the faithful is Exu. I saw a statue of him; he is black with cow horns, a bright red tongue, and at least one hoof. He is not an honest broker, however, for he can cause chaos, seemingly at whim. The way to stay on his good side is to feed him cachaca, or sugar cane liquor.

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