Religious Beliefs. Cape Verdeans are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. In the early 1900s the Protestant Church of the Nazarene and the Sabbatarians had successful conversion drives. Each was able to build a church and translate the Gospels into Crioulo. Only 2 percent of the population is not Roman Catholic. Patron-saint festivals are commonly observed through the incorporation of non-Catholic activities. In the 1960s, rebelados, remote Sao Tiago peasants, rejected the authority of the Portuguese Catholic missionaries and began to perform their own baptism and marriage rituals. These people also are referred to as badius, descendants of runaway slaves, and are less assimilated than other groups into Portuguese and Cape Verdean national culture. (More recently, "badius" has become an ethnic term referring to the people of Santiago.) In one annual festival, or festa, in honor of Fogo's patron, Saint Philip, men, women, and children from the poorer classes parade down to the beach early in the morning, led by five horsemen invited as honored guests. Saint John's and Saint Peter's day festivals on the islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antão include the performance of the coladera, a procession dance accompanied by drums and whistles. During the canta-reis, a festa to welcome the new year, musicians serenade neighborhoods by moving from house to house. They are invited in to eat canjoa (chicken and rice soup) and gufongo (cake made from corn meal) and drink grog (sugarcane alcohol). Another festa, the tabanca, is identified with slave folk traditions that at various times in Cape Verdean history have symbolized resistance to the colonial regime and support of Africanisms. Tabancas include singing, drumming, dancing, processions, and possession. Tabancas are religious celebrations associated with the badius. The badius are the "backward" people of Santiago who represent the opposite of being Portuguese. In this sense, the term represents the essence and disdained characteristics of Cape Verdean identity. Tabancas were discouraged at times when Cape Verdean identity was suppressed and encouraged when pride in Cape Verdean identity was being expressed. Belief in magic and witchcraft practices can be traced from both Portuguese and African roots.
Religious Practitioners. Roman Catholicism has penetrated all levels of Cape Verdean society, and religious practices reflect class and racial segmentation. Conversion efforts were extensive among slaves, and even today peasants distinguish between foreign missionaries and local priests ( padres de terra ). Local clergy hardly test the power of local elites. The Church of the Nazarene has attracted individuals who are unhappy with the corrupt Catholic clergy and desire upward mobility through hard work. Folk religious practices are most noticeably related to rites and acts of rebellion. The tabancas include the selection of a king and queen and represent the rejection of state authority. Rebelados have continued to reject the penetration of state authority.
Arts. Expressive and aesthetic traditions are maintained through cyclical ritual events that include the playing of music, singing, and dancing. Contemporary music styles assimilate appropriate themes and forms from these traditions to create popular art, acceptable in metropolitan life and in the diaspora. Pan-African traditions have increasingly tied together the various populations who identify themselves as Crioulo.
Medicine. Modern medical practices are increasingly available to the population as a whole, complementing traditional healing arts.
Death and Afterlife. Illness and death are significant occasions for social gatherings in the households of the afflicted. Friends and relatives participate in visits that may occur over a period of months. Hosts must provide refreshments for people of all stations in society. Mourning falls mainly to women, who participate more in the visitation practices, which in more well-to-do families take place in the sala, a ritual chamber also used for guests.