- Title: BRAZIL: Brazilians throw offerings into ocean ahead of New Year's
- Date: 30th December 2009
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (DECEMBER 29, 2009) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF COPACABANA BEACH WHERE PEOPLE GATHERED TO WORSHIP IEMANJA, THE AFRO-BRAZILIAN GODDESS OF SEA AND FERTILITY SUGARLOAF HILLS PEOPLE AT COPACABANA BEACH VARIOUS OF FOLLOWERS OF UMBANDA RELIGION SINGING AND PLAYING INSTRUMENTS IN FRONT OF BEACH VARIOUS OF FOLLOWER DRESSED AS IEMANJA FOLLOWERS CARRYING OFFERINGS TO WORSHIP VENUE GENERAL VIEW OF PEOPLE AT WORSHIP VENUE ON THE BEACH FOLLOWER POURING CHAMPAGNE ONTO A STATUE OF IEMANJA CLOSE OF FOLLOWER IEMANJA STATUE
- Embargoed: 14th January 2010 12:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA37PNS1WQJ5UWSB5SYIEYJKJ76
- Story Text: Hundreds of Brazilians gather at Copacabana beach to make their annual offerings to Iemanja, considered the goddess of the sea and fertility.
Hundreds of people flocked to Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach on Tuesday (December 29) to send out flowers and floating candles into the Atlantic as offerings to Iemanja, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea and fertility.
To the sound of traditional religious chants, a procession of people arrived at the seaside avenue carrying white flowers and boats with offerings and wishes for the next year.
Usually worshiped on the New Year's Eve, it is the seventh time followers have organized a festival exclusively to honor the goddess, in which they dance and sing in a circle around a statue of Iemanja.
As Iemanja worshipers sang and danced in white clothes, the goddess' figure was bathed in champagne.
Helio Sillman, who organizes the annual event, said the homage keeps the tradition alive.
"It's a very good and positive energy, we make our prayers to deliver (the offerings) to Iemanja. It's a very beautiful party that rescues the tradition of Copacabana, of the Umbanda followers, which is to hand the offerings to Iemanja," he said.
Followers of the Candomble, Umbanda and even Catholic religions, worship Iemanja, considered the mother of all creatures.
Isaura Uerrara, who takes part in the ritual every year, made several requests for the goddess.
"We need peace, harmony and balance. And (I hope) that we (Umbanda followers) can be respected, (I hope) that there is no disagreement between religions," she said.
"I want Iemanja, the queen of the sea, to bring a lot of peace to Rio de Janeiro," said follower Claudia Abrantes.
For many Brazilians, the Iemanja rituals are deeply meaningful. Tradition has it that if the waves sweep away someone's offering, Iemanja has accepted it and they will have good fortune in the coming year.
Meanwhile, Rio is preparing for its massive New Year's Eve beach party, which draws huge crowds of revelers to Copacabana beach.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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