In Brazil, followers of the ancient Umbanda faith in Sao Paulo State have ben holding the annual festival to honour their deities.
SV Statue of Iemanja TILT DOWN TO crowd (2 shots)
CU Man lighting candles ZOOM OUT
CU Statue of Oxala TILT DOWN TO flowers and candles
SV Banners outside temple (2 shots)
SV Banner depicting Jesus Christ
GV People carrying offerings on beach (3 shots)
CU TO SCU Woman praying in sea
SV Women in shallows
GV Men floating out offerings in sea PAN TO crowd on beach
SCU People gathered on beach for wedding
GV Statue of Iemanja
CU Ring put on finger and GV ceremony (2 shots)
GV Man adding to offerings
CU ZOOM OUT Woman ringing bells
SV People praying in front of offerings as others sing and play drums (2 shots)
SV Woman praying
SV Men carrying offerings into sea in small boat (3 shots)
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Background: In Brazil, followers of the ancient Umbanda faith in Sao Paulo State have ben holding the annual festival to honour their deities.
SYNOPSIS: Iemanja, Goddess of the Sea in the Umbanda faith, presided over the observances which were held on the Praia Grande near Santos. This was the last day of the week-long festival and local dignitaries participated with the faithful who came from all over Sao Paulo State. Umbanda is one of the principal Afro-Brazilian cults.
Umbanda is based on spiritualism and a melange of Christian elements. Oxala is the Umbanda equivalent of Jesus Christ, as the figure of Iemanja is the equivalent of the Virgin Mary. The faith first came to Brazil in the days of slavery, and was strongest around Bahia, the spot where most slaves were landed. All along the beach, various banners depicted the "temples" or congregations of the faith that exist throughout Sao Paulo State. The faith is also strong in the North East and in Rio. Statistically, the number of adherents to Umbanda made the cult one of the world's largest religions.
Traditionally seven baskets of offerings and flowers are floated out to sea in tribute to Iemanja. They are weighted and sink quickly. It is regarded as auspicious to be married during the festival under the aegis of Iemanja. The head of the Umbanda sect in Sao Paulo officiated at this weeding.
Originally the Umbanda faith, as it was imported from Africa, was unacceptable tot he strongly Roman Catholic Portuguese slave owners, who proscribed the faith. But rather than lose their faith entirely, the slaves incorporated their black magic and voodoo cults into the Roman Catholic religion. Even the Umbanda "Orixas', as they are called, closely resemble the Saints. The observance ends when the final offerings are set afloat. And the last of them goes in a small boat and is a statue of Iemanja herself.