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Worshippers honour Afro-Brazilian sea goddess in New Year's ritual


Worshippers of the sea goddess Yemanja gathered in Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, December 28, 2019 to honour the so-called Queen of the Sea.

The followers of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian Candomble and Umbanda faiths were singing, playing drums, and dancing during the traditional New Year tribute.

This year’s celebration was not as big as previous years due to the lack of support from the city’s government, for a second year in a row.

Worshipper Rafael Cesário said that “to have this budget cut, it’s sad. It’s very sad. But we are showing that our religion is strong enough to be here every year”.

Mostly dressed in white, some worshippers launched their offerings to the sea, many carried in small boats with flowers, and bowls with candles, fruits, perfume and some drinks.

Devotees thanked Yemanja for 2019 and hoped for peace and respect among religions in 2020.

Candomble was brought to Brazil by West African slaves at the beginning of the 19th century.

Umbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism and indigenous American beliefs.

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