Hundreds gather at the beach to celebrate the Yemanja, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea. Angela Moore reports.
With offerings of flowers and small objects, hundreds of people came to Copacabana Beach in Rio to pay tribute to Yemanja - the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea. Dressed in white clothes, the faithful made offerings to the sea in exchange for a blessing from the goddess. This year, many people asked Yemanja to help the country out of its political troubles. SOUNDBITE: Marlene Vilar, worshipper, saying (Portuguese): "I asked her to take Brazil out of this terrible crisis which we are facing. And she will help us and everything will work out just fine, in the name of Yemanja." SOUNDBITE: Durval da Silva, worshipper, saying (Portuguese): "All I want is peace and that our politicians wake up and realize that this country is huge and beautiful and all the good energy is being wasted with bad politics and with this crisis that hit the country." Yemanja is an important part of the Yoruba religion. Its religious traditions were brought to Brazil by African slaves hundreds of years ago. And in keeping with tradition, every year, worshippers gather at the beach to sing, dance and pour sparking water over the statue of Yemanja. Worshippers also light candles and write letters declaring their wishes for the new year.