Sunday, 31 October 2010

Umbanda - Part A

FuFu Life in Curitiba - Brazil
24th July 2010 | Part Five

My host, Oldy had planned to attend a ceremony of Umbanda at Santa Cándida with his brother and friends. on my second arrival day in Brazil. Fortunately, i was given a chance to witness and know such splendid ceremony. Here i would like to share Umbanda with you all. To understand the religion and get the pictures of the ceremony, you are advised to spend some time reading and watching all the videos.

"Umbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African religions with Catholicism, Spiritism and many other indigenous lore." (Source : Wikipedia)

According to Wikipedia, some of Umbanda's beliefs and most of its practices existed in the late 19th century in almost all Brazil but it's assumed that Umbanda originated in Rio de Janeiro and surrounding areas in the early 20th century, practiced among the poor Afro-Brazilian population. Since then, Umbanda has spread across mainly southern Brazil and even to neighboring countries like Uruguay and Argentina.

Umbanda has many branches, each one with a different set of beliefs and practices. Some of the Umbanda's basic beliefs are the existence of a One Supreme Creator God (the Orixá Olorum). Deities called Orixás related to Catholic Saints that act as God's energy and plain power expansions. Spirits of deceased people that counsel and guide believers through troubles in our material world. Psychics called mediums who have a natural ability that can be perfected to bring messages from the spiritual world and guiding spirits, reincarnation and spiritual evolution through many material lives and the practice of Charity.

The information presented above from Wikipedia is just a general view of all Umbanda branches, so some beliefs and practices here described could be different from those you may observe from the clips below or experience it yourself.

The Umbanda creeds and practices are an eclectic mixture from three main sources:

1. From Catholicism : Umbanda adopted the ideas of Supreme and Only One Creator God, The Gospel scriptures, the cult of saints (associated with the Orixás and their icons, some feasts and the practice of charity.

2. Umbanda adopted the creeds in spiritism as a medium to contact the spirits of deceased people, reincarnation and spiritual evolution through many physical existences, the practice of charity.

3. From the African-Brazilian religions, specially the Macumba rituals practiced by the poor black population in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia states, the Umbanda adopted the worship of incantations practices and most of its rituals (songs, dances, foods, beverages, cigar smoking, divination using sea snail shells – "jogo de búzios").

A less important source of creeds and practices are the Oriental, esoteric and occultism philosophies (e.g., Tarot cards, David's Star, Johrei – healing using the hands). The opposite side of the Umbanda, i.e., the practices that intended to cause evil doings, became known as Quimbanda, although most Umbandists consider Candomblé, a religion closer to the African roots, a kind of black witchcraft. Umbanda is juxtaposed with Quimbanda which now reclaims its identity as a separate, more African religion and distinct from both Umbanda and Candomblé.

One hundred years after its establishment, Umbanda is divided itself into several branches with different beliefs, creeds and practices. Some of these newer streams, such as Umbanda d'Angola and Umbanda Jejê, have a body of rituals, ceremonies and philosophies that makes them closer to other African-Brazilian religions. The Umbanda Esotérica is heavily influenced by Oriental, esoteric and occultism philosophies.

Umbanda has one supreme being related to the Catholic God known as Olorum (or Zambi) and many divine intermediary deities. These intermediary deities are further divided into different legions, phalanges, sub-phalanges, guides and protectors. These groups can then be divided up even further into a multitude of spiritual beings (as you can see the different colours of the rope the followers are wearing).

"Umbanda 是巴西黑人宗教, 融合非洲宗教與天主教, 招魂和許多其他土著傳說."(來源 : 維基百科)

我巴西的Host, Oldy打算出席跟他的弟弟及朋友們去參加 Umbanda的儀式。剛好就在我抵達巴西的第二個晚上. 很幸運我有機會參加以及認識Umbanda這個特別的宗教. 在這裡, 我想與大家分享Umbanda。為了理解Umbanda這宗教和儀式, 建議你花一些時間來閱讀和觀看揭曉來所有影片.

根據維基百科, Umbanda的信念以及行禮在巴西發源於19世紀末, Umbanda起源於里約熱內盧及周邊地區. 剛開始Umbanda都是貧窮的非裔巴西人口開始實行Umbanda的禮儀. 從那時起, Umbanda就漸漸的遍布巴西南部主要向周邊國家, 甚至遍布烏拉圭和阿根廷.

原來Umbanda 也有很多分派, 每一個派們都具有獨特一組不同的信仰和習俗. 但一些Umbanda的基本信念都是由一個至高無上Orixá Olorum 為造物主神.

1. Orixás 主神就是天主教聖徒作為神的能量和普通電源的擴展之一.
2. 死者的精神會引導信徒們順利把這個物質世界的麻煩都給解決.
3. 媒介通靈者擁有天生的能力, 可以通過輪迴和其他精神把物質生活和實踐融入把完善的信息帶出.

上面介紹的信息來自維基百科只是一個普遍的看法是所有Umbanda的分派, 所以一些信仰和習俗在這裡描述的可能會不同, 那就要你自己親自體驗或者從我的短片中自己尋找.

Umbanda 的信仰和習俗的發源是從以下三個主要因素的混合 :

1. 來自天主教:Umbanda通過的想法只有一個最高造物主上帝, 福音經文, 邪教的聖人 (Oixás和他們的神像,一些節日和禮拜).

2. Umbanda 是通過轉世和精神進化而許多物理的存在的信息為媒介來招魂以及聯繫已故人的靈魂.

3. 來自非洲和巴西的宗教, 特別是在里約熱內盧和巴伊亞州由貧窮的黑人實行的Macumba宗教, 跟Umbanda都有相似的崇拜咒語的做法和其他的大部分儀式(歌曲, 舞蹈,食品, 飲料, 吸煙, 用海蝸牛殼占卜).

See how the prayers look like before the ceremony starts.

The devotees would kiss the hand, put it on forehead and then hug.

這個短片, 是祈禱儀式還沒有開始的一個重要的敬礼儀式. 信徒會趴在地板上祈禱, 過後就親吻對方的手, 把對方的手放在自己的前額, 然後互相擁抱. 神父然後就坐下, 其他信徒陸陸續續的進來。

After that, all devotees joined in.

They formed a big circles in from of the followers, dancing and singing.

Paused 0:42, you can see Juliana (Oldy's friend), Oldy (my host), Fabio (Oldy's brother) and Fabio's friend.

這個短片你們會看到很像天主的拜礼儀式和歌頌的環節. 敬礼後信徒們就會陸陸續續的集合在中心的舞臺準備拜礼, 唱歌, 跳舞等等. 神父就負責歌頌以及帶動當場整個氣氛.

p.s. : 0:42出現的是Juliana (Oldy的朋友), Oldy (FuFu的朋友), Fabio (Oldy的弟弟), Fabio 的朋友.

A bucket of burning incenses was then brought to the followers

This custom is just like Buddhism or Hinduism. Right?

Actually the second half this clip, the devotee was offering me to stand on a chair for a better view to take better video. I didn't do so because i wanna move the body with others. LOL

The bible section! Everyone was following the priest.

Priest definitely played a very important role for the whole ceremony. When praying, the devotees would knee down, stick their heads on the floor with both of their hands and holy water would be spreading on them, while the followers would open their hands wide listening or following the prayer. After that, everyone would clap their hands with the prayer accordingly while moving the bodies.

Wanna know what the devotees are praying at? Check out this clip!

Well, they are those similar statues you could find in any church!

If you are watching this clip above, you would basically know the clapping rhythm of Umbanda while moving your body.

Maria... Maria... Maria...

Watch this and you would know what they are singing!

The ceremony of Umbanda couldn't be started without having set of musical instrument specially drums. After watching this clip, you would roughly know how many were us inside this little Umbandan church. And the lady beside me really love and had been moving her body since the beginning till end of first part of the ceremony!

Now they were praying the mother nature.

See how they would 'trigger' their wrists to end a prayer. Interesting.


London Caller said...

Jonestown Massacreのこと、知ってる?

fufu said...

London Caller : 知らんって。。。でも俺は無事だよ

Lily Riani said...

ydang! you can write in japs too.... great, now i forgot to comment about your post due to your amazing distraction!

[SK] said...

oh very informative post, thanks for sharing.. :)

Kenny Mah said...

Divination using sea snail shells? Hmm, I wonder if we can use the shells of our local siput babi to attempt the same? Maybe get some 4D results? :P

行走绿色世界 said...

Religion is powerful and very mysterious....i think not many ppl can take part for the ceremony unless the local bring u around lol ..u are so lucky...haha share more if u travel to other part of latin american but gotta be careful of the mysterious power like 降头...hahaha....

Bengbeng said...

this is very interesting

蓝天白云 said...

quite interesting ceremony...but i quite curious on they didnt stop u on record the quite a open religious...
understanding a group of ppl through religious is quite a effective way....

fufu said...

Lily Riani : haha i speak japanese though... lol but not all of you would understand...

SK : yeah glad you find it nice :)

Life for Beginners : erm...have no idea... probably for them, the sea snail shell is something very special :)

fufu said...

Winnt : yeah damn lucky because they really planned to visit on my second arrival day!! hohoho such an interesting night :) and they all welcomed me warmly :)

Bengbeng : yeah such an eye-candy ceremony to me! well on my second day in brazil :)

bluecloud : erm probably it's one very healthy religion :) so they dont even care if i take the pictures or videos :) even they helped me to video which i will mention in the next post ya =p

William said...

Kinda like in the Philippines where Catholic faith is mingled with folk lore.

Akira 思胜 said...

Wow, the end of the prayer is quite interesting oh! :)

Pete said...

Interesting ritual!

单身汉 said...


edward said...


இ Baŋäŋaz இ said...

Very interesting videos.. yeah they kneel and prostrate on the floor just like the Hindus & Tibetan. Those wearing different belt colors would differentiate them for seniority or no significance at all? Oh 'trigger' the hands at both wrists to end the prayer. tQ for the nice and spiritual post.

London Caller said...


fufu said...

William : really? but this is definitely better and more interesting than those in the philippines

Pete : yeah special right? erm wish to go there again for pictures... lol

单身汉 : huuh? 真的...我讀了有關英文的文章...中文的部分很不好 ><

fufu said...

edward : haha 沒有...只是去看看吧了... 沒有很大的期望...但是大開眼界 =p

Bananazஇ : erm colours of the rope definitely show the different level.. and well i also surprised actually they have few similarities with hinduism, tibetan and buddhism ya :)

London Caller : ハハ なんで?行っても大丈夫よ。。。次にいっぱい写真撮るからさあ

escape said...

very interesting. first to read it here. when somebody talks about brazil what comes into my mind are the ladies of carnaval, amazon river and the redeemer in rio.

fufu said...

dong ho : yeah brazil still has many more stuff/exotic cultures we all dont know ya :) more to explore here lol

levian said...

there are truly many mysterious things to discover in religions. you're lucky to have witness it!

gbeejipp said...

what I like most about your posts is that there a lot of things that are unknown especially among Asian ppl. WE all know how amazing and colorful Brazil is but not quite in details like you have posted in. Thanks for sharing Fufu.

Sasa said...



Wow! Thanks for sharing the culture you witnessed. This is very interesting.

Florence said...

really nvr heard abt Umbanda b4 @@{

Wois said...

wow... u enjoy there so much, thou.

I wanna go too.. but i m poor now, haiz

古小玉 said...


P.S. : 阿富日文真是yichiba,教我几句"遘"日本妹可以吗? :p

foongpc said...

Wow! This is interesting! But I did not managed to view all the videos due to slow internet.

lock said...

christian localised!

海市蜃樓 said...


Looking for a Car? said...

thx, really did learn smthg from tis

stevevhan said...

The culture looks so rich, it really shows on the videos you gave!:)

O, btw, when you go to Mexico next year tell me more stories ah!?:)

and please do take care fufu!:)

fufu said...

levian : yeah and on my second arrival day!!! super duper lucky :)

JIPP : yeah glad to hear this lol and i still have many nice adventures lining up to be shared here...stay tuned ya

Sasa : 很高興你學到新的東西哦 :)

fufu said...

Rizalenio : yes! glad you like this post... haha =p also hope you would like part B

Florence : yeah it's my first time also... :)

Wois : hahha save enough money and come later =p

fufu said...

古小玉 : 哈哈 我在日本畢業的...你說我日語好不好?? lol 我沒有入教...去參觀罷了

foongpc : will be your loss ><

lock : something like that

fufu said...

海市蜃樓 : 真的呀 :) 巴西還有很多新奇的等我去發掘的呢...

Looking for a Car? : glad to hear this :)

stevevhan : yeah i am going to mexico next year... will definitely share everything here with you guys :)

yeah glad you have watched the part B... wish you would like the videos there too :)

TG said...

I'm an atheist, but love to learn about other religions and rituals to better understand the people. Thanks for the information you shared. I did not know this belief before :)

fufu said...

MKL : glad you found this interesting to read and know :) lol i will explore capoeira next =p

Ayie said...

it's interesting, thanks for sharing fufu

fufu said...

Ayie : it's my pleasure :)

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