RIO DE JANEIRO – Hundreds of practitioners of Brazil's Afro-Brazilian Candomble and Umbanda faiths have gathered at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach to honor the sea goddess Yemanja in a traditional New Year tribute.
A large statue of the goddess in flowing white and blue robes was carried by truck to the beach on Friday.
Worshippers were mostly dressed in white as they launched their offerings to Yemanja: small boats with flowers and bowls with candles and fruits. Night-long music and dancing follow the offerings.
Candomble was brought to Brazil by West African slaves at the beginning of the 19th centuries. Umbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism and indigenous American beliefs.