Handing out candies and treats to kids in the streets is not exclusive to Halloween. Saints Cosmas and Damian day, a religious date celebrated throughout Brazil, marks the day when kids go out on the streets to receive small paper bags filled with candies!
This tradition has its origins in the afro-brazilian religions. In Brazil's colonial period, the african slaves sought to associate their Orixas divinities with catholic saints as to avoid persecution to their celebrations and adorations. Hence, Saint Cosmas and Damian, martyrs of the Catholic faith and patron saint of doctors, were chosen as a proxy to the Ibejis, the twin orixas who protect the children in the Candomblé and Umbanda tradition.
In the African religions, the Ibejis are twin brother and sister, offsprings of Xangô and Iansã. Traditionally, they were celebrated by these religion followers through the cooking of "caruru", a shrimp based dish that was distributed to the kids of the community. This tradition became the root of today's candies handouts.
Despite being part of the Afro-brazilian traditions, as time passed Brazilian catholics also started to attribute the protection of children to Saints Cosmas and Damian and joined the tradition as a way to pay tribute to the Saints who graced their prayers.
Brazilian kids were the main beneficiaries of this cultural adoption, getting free candies from people of different faiths and traditions.
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