(A little joke from Yahoo Answers)
I’ve been reading a great little book called Folclore Brasileiro by Nilza Megale, a primer on Brazilian folklore which runs the gamut from the musical to the spiritual. When reading about Afro-Brazilian religions, I came across one phrase which in turn made me recall another. I’d like to look at those two phrases and their meanings.
“Baixar o Santo”
Different from abaixar (to bend over/down), baixar means ‘to lower’ or ‘to download’. The verb baixar can also be used in a unique phrase, albeit of a spiritual nature. The phrase I’m referring to is “baixar o santo” which takes on the meaning of incorporating a divinity, when a believer* goes into a trance. It is used mainly when speaking of Afro-Brazilian religions, though you may have seen something similar when watching certain televised church services.
Ex. Ele baixou o santo.
Ex. He went into a trance.
* – Not to be confused with Beliebers (Justin Bieber fans) who also seem to go into a trance when you mention their idol.
“Puxar a Alguém”
Taking on someone else’s spirit made me think of another phrase which I’ll share with you. As you may know, puxar doesn’t mean ‘to push’ (that’s empurrar). In fact, puxar means the opposite, to pull. The same verb has another meaning when used in the phrase,“puxar a alguém” (to take after someone). Let’s look at some examples,
Ex. Eu puxei à minha mãe.
Ex. I take after my mother.
Ex. Ele puxou ao pai na inteligência.
Ex. He takes after his father in intelligence.
(In case you are wondering about the picture at the top, it’s someone saying that since everything is online these days, he wants to know how he can download a saint (baixar um santo) via the internet. The answer says he should try “baixaqui” which is a reference to a site like CNET’s Download.com where one can find ‘everything’)
Cick here for Part 2 of When One Phrase Leads to Another.
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Great post, Adam. These are two very popular and useful expressions. You might have noticed that we use “baixou o santo” outside of the religious realm. For example, say a girl is fed up with her boyfriend’s always being late to pick her up. If she tells him off, he can say “Baixou o santo”.
Another example: Say I feel super inspired to create class material and write several new handouts for the Street Smart Brazil library all in one day. I can say, “Baixou o santo and I was able to write ten new awesome handouts today.”
Even those how are not religious, or are religious but do not believe in or agree with afro-brazilian religions, will use this expression to indicate a behavior that is more intense, excited, or inspired than average.