The Candle Ritual is the final act during the Shokon-sai ceremony in the Japanese Cemetery when voluntary people light houndreds of candles in every grave to honor their ansestors. The cemetery was built in 1918 in the Alvares Machado town, inland São Paulo State, Brazil by japanese immigrants that used to live in a colony nearby the site. The cemetery was closed by Brazilian Presidente Getulio Vargas in 1943 claiming racial discrimination because only japanese or its decendants could be buried there. Only one person of non japanese descendant was buried in the cemetery after he was murdered defending a japanese family during an assalt. Since 1920, every year the Shokonsai (Invitation to the souls to the mass service in english) is celebrates and it never rains during the Shokonsai day. Another curiosity is the fact that when the people start to light the candles, even the wind stops blowing. Today the cemetery is closed and it became an historical and heritage site.
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.