Today, February 2, some Brazilians celebrate the festival of Iemanjá (also spelled Yemanja), one of the most important Candomblé goddesses. Candomblé, a Brazilian expression of several African faith traditions (especially Yoruba) combined with some elements of Catholicism, is a great example of the kinds of cultural resistance and exchange we started to talk about in class yesterday. It is also a very visible link between West Africa and the larger African diaspora.
Iemanjá is a female water goddess, a protector of fishermen and pregnant women. In Bahia, devotees honor her on the official Catholic festival day for Our Lady of Navigators (Feb 2). Followers make offerings of flowers and other objects that they throw into the sea, or set adrift on small rafts.
It was hard to find a subtitled/English video of the Bahian celebration, but I’m sharing one here. You’ll her the music, see the blue and white clothing of many devotees, and see a few people entering into religious trances. (You can find a lot more of videos if you just want to see the celebration).