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Wikipedia: "Yemanja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Africans from what is now called Yorubaland brought Yemaya and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children.
The goddess is known as Yemanjá, Iemanjá or Janaína in Brazilian Candomble and Umbanda religions.
On New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro, millions of cariocas, of all religions, dressed in white gather on Copacabana beach to greet the New Year, watch fireworks, and throw (white) flowers and other offerings into the sea for the goddess in the hopes that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. Some send their gifts to Iemanjá in wooden toy boats. Paintings of Iemanjá are sold in Rio shops, next to paintings of Jesus and other Catholic saints. They portray her as a woman rising out of the sea. Small offerings of flowers and floating candles are left in the sea on many nights at Copacabana."
Wikipedia: "Festa importante dedicada a Iemanjá ocorre durante a passagem de ano no Rio de Janeiro. Milhares de pessoas comparecem e depositam no mar oferendas para a divindade. A celebração também inclui o tradicional "Banho de pipoca" e as sete ondas que os fiéis, ou até mesmo seguidores de outras religiões, pulam como forma de pedir sorte à Orixá."
Here's your soundtrack. Okay, maybe they're not exactly brazillian but their music is awesome and their live shows legendary.Now, Brazil covers almost half of South America and its Amazon rainforest is the world's largest jungle... which is rapidly getting cut down. The country is basically one giant botanical garden with some bangin' cities on its edges.Brazil was colonized in 1808 by the royal court of Portugal, which was fleeing Napolean's troops. They didn't stay long, and Brazil won its independence in 1822.Its biggest city, Sao Paulo, is the financial hub of South America. Brazil is the "b" in BRIC -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. These four were labeled the world's fastest developing large economies in the year 2001.Brazil is known for three things: amazingly beautiful women, carnival, and Pele -- King of Football, Athlete of the Century, football ambassador of the world and a declared national treasure.Brazillians can tell foreigners a mile away, by the way their hips move. Samba is built into the soul of brazil and carnival is when it bursts out into twenty-four hour undying explosions of sound on every street.This picture of mask diving at the Taipus reefs makes me shed hot and salty tears all over my calendar, which is set on "January" right now.Text by Steve Smith.