Syncretism, or the blending of distinctive beliefs, has long informed the cultural identity of Brazil, where a swirl of African, European, Asian, and indigenous traditions pushes against the confines of a nation. In the late 19th century, Catholicism and African ritualism collided, and the Afro-Brazilian religion known as Umbanda was born. As cities such as São Paulo began swelling with industrial opportunity, eclecticism would win out over stodgy classicism, and baroque and Art Nouveau influences would soon begin popping up along the city’s boulevards.
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