Resisting, having faith and giving thanks: the passage of the faithful through the city of Rio de Janeiro on Iemanjá’s Day

The celebration of Iemanjá that takes place on December 29 is organized by shopkeepers of the Madureira Market, in the Rio suburbs, and was initially intended to give thanks for the reconstruction of the Condomínio Comercial building, which was on fire in 2000, and was rebuilt and reopened one year later. “The event was also meant to let everyone know we were open again”, said shopkeeper Hélio Sillman.
The celebration of faith and gratitude is very visible, moving through several districts. People ride in rented buses, paid for with money collected from donations made by shopkeepers and from the sale of t-shirts. Devotees get in at Madureira and cross the north and the center of Rio, until finally reaching Copacabana, in the south of the city.
In Copacabana, the group that was in the bus joins the one that went straight to the traditional carioca district, and everyone can enjoy the concerts, presentations and speeches that happen in a pavilion assembled by the City. A few hours later, the climax of the celebration is announced: it is time to follow a procession to the sea, carrying gifts to greet and thank Iemanjá.

By Cristiano Cardoso.