What is Xangô?

June 21, 2024


Xangô is a powerful and revered deity in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. He is known as the god of thunder, justice, and fire, and is often associated with strength, courage, and leadership. Xangô is also a symbol of balance and harmony, as he represents the duality of light and darkness, good and evil. In this glossary, we will explore the origins, characteristics, and significance of Xangô in Candomblé.

Origins of Xangô

Xangô has roots in the Yoruba religion of West Africa, where he is known as Sango. He was originally a king of the Oyo Empire in Nigeria, known for his wisdom, strength, and ability to control thunder and lightning. When the Yoruba people were enslaved and brought to Brazil, they brought their beliefs and traditions with them, including the worship of Xangô. Over time, Xangô became syncretized with Catholic saints, such as Saint Jerome and Saint Barbara, forming the figure worshipped in Candomblé.

Characteristics of Xangô

Xangô is often depicted as a powerful and imposing figure, with a crown on his head and a double-bladed axe in his hand. He is associated with the colors red and white, as well as the number six. Xangô is known for his fiery temper and his sense of justice, as he punishes wrongdoers and rewards the righteous. He is also a patron of drumming, dancing, and music, and is often invoked in rituals and ceremonies.

Significance of Xangô

In Candomblé, Xangô is seen as a protector and a guide, who helps his followers navigate the challenges of life. He is believed to bring strength, courage, and determination to those who worship him, as well as justice and balance. Xangô is also associated with the power of transformation, as he can bring about change and renewal in the lives of his devotees. Many people turn to Xangô for help in times of trouble or uncertainty, seeking his guidance and protection.

Offerings to Xangô

In Candomblé, offerings are made to Xangô in order to honor and appease him. These offerings can include food, drink, candles, and other items that are believed to please the deity. Some common offerings to Xangô include red palm oil, cornmeal, and rum, as well as fruits, vegetables, and meat. Offerings are usually placed on an altar or shrine dedicated to Xangô, where they are left for a period of time before being consumed or disposed of in a ritualistic manner.

Rituals and Ceremonies

Rituals and ceremonies dedicated to Xangô are an important part of Candomblé practice. These rituals often involve drumming, dancing, chanting, and offerings, as well as the invocation of spirits and deities. During these ceremonies, devotees may enter into a trance-like state, where they communicate with the spirits and receive guidance and blessings. Rituals dedicated to Xangô are usually held on specific days of the week or month, and may vary depending on the tradition or lineage of the practitioner.

Symbolism of Xangô

Xangô is a symbol of power, strength, and justice in Candomblé, representing the forces of nature and the balance of the universe. He is also a symbol of transformation and renewal, as he can bring about change and growth in the lives of his followers. Xangô’s association with thunder and lightning symbolizes his ability to bring clarity and illumination to those who seek his guidance. His dual nature, as both a warrior and a king, reflects the duality of human existence and the need for balance and harmony.

Devotion to Xangô

Devotion to Xangô is a deeply personal and spiritual practice for many followers of Candomblé. Devotees may wear amulets or talismans dedicated to Xangô, as well as perform daily prayers and rituals in his honor. Some devotees may also participate in pilgrimages to sacred sites associated with Xangô, seeking his blessings and protection. Devotion to Xangô is seen as a way to connect with the divine and to receive guidance and support in times of need.


In conclusion, Xangô is a powerful and revered deity in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, known for his strength, courage, and sense of justice. He is a symbol of balance and harmony, as well as transformation and renewal. Devotion to Xangô is a deeply personal and spiritual practice for many followers, who seek his guidance and protection in times of trouble. By understanding the origins, characteristics, and significance of Xangô, we can gain a deeper appreciation for this powerful deity and the role he plays in the lives of his devotees.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.