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."