Yemanjá: Candomblé cult in Bahia

Recôncavo baiano, Bahia, Brazil – February 2012

Yemanjá is one of the most popular ‘orixás’, the deities or spiritual entities from the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, a syncretic religious fusion which has developed amongst the black slaves brought to Brazil from Western Africa during the colonial times. The personage of Yemanjá/Yemaya originally comes from the ancient Yoruba mythology and she is the goddess of the ocean. According to the spiritual concepts of Candomblé, Yemanjá represents the essence of motherhood. In spite of being often displayed as a beautiful mermaid with long and loose hair to wind, she is considered a protector of fishermen and sailors. Due to the forced evangelization, Yemanjá has been syncretized with Virgin Mary (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception).

Every year in February, thousands of Yemanjá devotees participate in a colorful celebration in honor of the Queen of the Sea. Faithful, usually dressed in the traditional white, gather on the beaches or on the river banks to leave offerings for their goddess. Gifts for Yemanjá, piled in large baskets, include flowers and objects of female vanity (perfumes, jewelry, mirrors). Dancing in the circle, singing ancestral Yoruba chants and praying, sometimes the followers enter into a trance and become possessed by the spirit of Yemanjá. At the end of the ceremony, offerings are thrown to the water by local fishermen.

Although Yemanjá is widely worshipped throughout Latin America, including south of Brazil, Uruguay, Cuba or Haiti, the strongest and the most popular cult is maintained in Bahia, the black heart of Brazil.

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Beautiful photos. Thankyou gorgeous colours and energy. Yemanja is one of my favourite goddesses, I love that your pictures bring you into the moment, wish I was there. Thanks again

sacha

05.03.2013 – 04:50

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