Woman in a trance during ritual dances for Iemanja. On February 2nd. Iemanja, the Goddess of the Water is honoured by hundreds of people in the seaport of Rio Vermelho, just outside Salvador de Bahia. Ritual dances are performed and offerings collected before they are taken to the sea and presented to the water. Iemanjá is the Goddess of the Water, the mother of all the gods in the Umbanda religion of Brazil. She is offered flowers, gifts, perfume and rice which are set into little boats and cast adrift into the sea, or else tossed directly into the water. Iemayá is the mother and the giver of life. She rules all the seas, oceans, lakes and naturally is the patron of sailors and fishermen. Being the great mother Yemaya also rules women and pregnancies. She, and the root of all the paths or manifestations, Olokun is the source of all riches which she freely gives to her little sister Oshún. Her number is seven for the seven seas, her colors are blue and white, and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children Umbanda is associated with the practice of Candomble, a kind of macumba, sometimes referred to as a voo-doo like ritual. Macumba came to Brazil with the slave ships from Africa and was first practiced around Salvador, where the ships landed, as Candomble. The merging of Christianity and macumba resulted in a set of deities, Gods of the Condomblé, with characteristics of both religions. Thus Iemanjá is St. Anne, or patron of the sea, and she is pictured as light skinned, with fair hair and wearing white and blue, the colors of Umbanda. Umbanda, Brazil s most important popular religion, has an identity native to Brazil but draws heavily on African, American and European religious traditions. As a religion, Umbanda has sought to legitimize itself by erasing some features of Candomblé, especially those referring to Africa, slavery and tribal behaviour and mentality.. As compared to Candomblé, the Umbanda initiation process is simpler, cheaper, an, 9999435
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