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Iemanjá Festival: Keeping the Afro-Brazilian Tradition Alive

Typically held on February 2, the festival of Iemanjá celebrates the African Yoruban deity of the sea. Iemanjá is also the patron goddess of the country. Brazil is the largest Black country outside of Africa, and Salvador is one the most Afrocentric cities in the Americas. After a two-year hiatus, The Iemanjá’s Day festival returns this year. During the day of celebration, devotees and tourists line up in the Rio Vermelho neighborhood showing gratitude for the previous year’s blessings. They also pray for more blessings in the coming year. The group gathers in the streets of the neighborhood for the ceremony. For many Afro-Brazilians, Iemanjá festival is not only important because of its religious approach, but also for keeping Africa’s tradition alive in Brazil and its potential to attract tourists from all over the world.