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In Europe, Women's Shoe Style Choices Reflect National Identities

French women buy more shoes each year than their other European counterparts. But what KIND of shoes says even more. Italian women are more apt to go for high heels...and others?

(Maegan Tintari)
(Maegan Tintari)

LA STAMPA/Worldcrunch*

From Cinderella to the girls of Sex and The City, women have always been obsessed with shoes. That obsession, it seems, extends all around the word, even if the kind and style of shoes might change. Now, a new survey attempts to quantify and qualify the links between nationality and footwear.

For starters, American women buy more shoes than Europeans, according to data by National Trade Sources and Research specialists, Euromonitor, Mintel, in a survey commissioned by Spartoo.com, a European online retailer of footwear.

Among Europeans, French women buy the largest number of shoes: an average of six pairs of shoes a year. A pair of smart stilettos, maybe by Christian Louboutin, ballerinas, like the favorite of the former first lady Carla Bruni, are de rigueur in a fashionable French closet.

English women buy an average of 5.4 pairs of shoes a year. They wear the brands Pretty Ballerinas and Manolo Blahnik, like the super model Kate Moss does, but also something more rock and punk, often with studs. Dr.Martens boots are always trendy in the UK.

Italian women (who buy an average of 5.2 pairs a year) go crazy for high heels. An Italian fashionista would easily wear 5-inch stilettos even for a simple happy hour. On the other hand, Northern Europeans are more sporty. In Holland and Belgium women buy mainly comfortable sneakers.

Read more in Italian from La Stampa. Original article by Roselina Salemi

Photo - Maegan Tintari

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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