In Brazil, millions of followers of the ancient Macumba Faith have celebrated the traditional festival of Lemanja, the Goddess of the Sea.
In Brazil, millions of followers of the ancient Macumba Faith have celebrated the traditional festival of Lemanja, the Goddess of the Sea. Each year, the faithful wait on beachfronts throughout the country for the spiritual coming of Lemanja.
SYNOPSIS: The main celebration takes place on a beach near Santos in Sao Paulo State. Here, members of the Umabanda sect come in their thousands. The celebrations begins with priests performing their rituals to the sound of muffled drum beats.
Macumba is a voodoo-like spiritualism mixed with Christianity. It was brought to Brazil by African slaves, originally landed to work the sugar plantations around Bahia.
Lemanja, the Sea Goddess, is Queen of the Macumba deities and represents purity, charity, fertility and maternal kindness. Statistically the number of followers of Macumba make it one of the world's largest religions. It's beginnings in Brazil were troubled. In it's original African form it was outlawed by the strongly Roman Catholic slave owners.
Rather than lose their faith entirely, the slaves incorporated their black magic and voodoo cults into the Catholic religion. Today, the parallels between both faiths remain. Lemanja is the Macumban equivalent of the Virgin Mary.
Women taking part in the festival wear long flowing gowns laced with white-roses...the traditional dress of Lemanja.
The celebration ends with the offering of gifts. Traditionally seven baskets of offerings are floated out to sea in tribute. Others are carried into the water by the faithful.