The Umbanda is a monotheistic religion and african-Brazilian, which appeared in 1908, founded by Zélio Fernandina de Moraes.
It is based on three fundamental concepts: Light, Charity and Love.
The word “umbanda” belongs to the Quimbundo vocabulary, from Angola, and means “art of healing”.
Origin of Umbanda
Umbanda is a religion that arose in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro.
On November 15, 1908, Zélio Fernandino de Moraes, born in São Gonçalo / RJ, would have incorporated Caboclo das Sete Encruzilhadas. This spirit would have helped him to create the Umbanda religion.
It quickly spread throughout Brazil and other countries in Latin America.
Their beliefs mix elements of Candomblé, Spiritism and Catholicism . For this reason, for many scholars, Umbanda would be a kind of candomblé without animal sacrifices, something that would be more accepted by the white and urban population of the time.
He still took concepts from Kardecism, which was arriving in the country, such as “evolution” and “reincarnation”.
He also has Jesus as a spiritual reference and it is possible to find his image in a prominent place on the altars of houses or umbanda terreiros.
Umbanda Place of Worship
Umbanda celebration held at the edge of a pond
The place for the umbanda ceremonies is called Casa, Terreiro or Barracão. Likewise, several celebrations are held outdoors, close to nature, in rivers, waterfalls or on the beach.
These ceremonies are presided over by a “father” or “mother”, a priest who directs the rites and commands the house. He is also responsible for teaching his Umbanda doctrine and secrets to his disciples.
In these places there are “pass” sessions, in which the entity reorganizes the person’s “astral energy field”.
There are also “discharge” sessions, when the person’s negative energy is captured and transferred to the temple grounds. Please note that no remuneration is allowed for these spiritual works.
The garments most used in these ceremonies are white because it is the neutral color that pleases all orishas and guides.
In Umbanda, animal sacrifice is not practiced and rituals of baptism, consecration and marriage are celebrated.
Umbanda points are songs to praise, call and say goodbye to the orixá and the lines of entities.
Accompanied by percussion instruments like the atabaque, it is important to know the rhythm of each orixá / entity. This learning begins in the initiate’s childhood. It is also necessary to know a multitude of songs.
Umbanda and candomblé points directly influenced Brazilian popular music.
Although Umbanda varies according to each region of Brazil and each house / terreiro, at least one song is very popular: Hino da Umbanda.
Composed by José Manoel Alves (lyrics) and Dalmo da Trindade Reis (music) it was made official as a hymn in 1961.
The Divine Light reflected
With all its splendor
It is from the kingdom of Oxalá
Where there is peace and love
Light that reflected on the earth
Light that reflected on the sea
Light that came from Aruanda
To illuminate everything
Umbanda is peace and love
It is a world full of Light
It is the strength that gives us life
It is the greatness that leads us
Onwards, children of faith
Like ours there is no law
Taking to the whole world
The flag of Oxalá
Taking the world over
The flag of Oxalá
Symbols of Exu, the messenger between the earthly and spiritual world
Before beginning the ceremonies in Umbanda, it is common for a person initiated to scratch the floor with different symbols: stars, crosses, tridents, straight or curved lines, etc.
These may vary according to Umbanda’s house, but the meaning is the same. That is, call the entities that will be worked on, ensure the arrival of guides to be incorporated, honor the orixás, bring good fluids and energies to the participants.
It should be noted that these features are just some of the many symbols that exist in Umbanda.
Umbanda is a monotheistic religion, where there is the concept of a supreme God, called “ Olorum” or “Oxalá” . They believe in the immortality of the soul, reincarnation and karmic laws.
They believe in orixás , personifications of elements of nature and energy, and in spiritual guides, they can join during certain ceremonies and come to Earth to help people in need.
The guides are called “entities” and each orixá has a line of entities that assist him.
Orixás and Umbanda Entities
The orixás found in Umbanda are: Oxalá, Xangô, Iemanjá, Ogum and Oxossi, Oxum, Iansã, Omulú and Nanã.
Here we list the main entities that manifest themselves in Umbanda.
- Caboclos: spirits of Indians who return to the earthly world to help people with health problems.
- Old blacks: people who were brought from Africa to be slaves in Brazil. Despite having suffered in life, now they are said to be evolved spirits who give great advice to those who seek them.
- Baianos: people who lived in Bahia and who chose to be guides and help those in need. They work with jobs, health, moral strength.
- Sailors / Sailors: in some regions this line does not exist. They work with psychological, physical, spiritual cleansing, and always speak the truth. They are always swaying because they come from the sea, they have had a painful life, but a lot of learning.
- Erês: they are the spirits of children. Laughing and love to play. They comfort the afflicted, the fathers and mothers and, sometimes, they make some mischief.
- Trickers:are those people who had to use their wits to survive. One of the best known is Zé Pelintra. He was orphaned by his father and mother and to survive he started to carry out small thefts and cheats. He takes care of the addicted women, the abused, the prostitutes, forgotten.
- Pomba-gira: they are women who in life fought against the oppressive situation of women and therefore, now help those who are experiencing problems. One of them was Maria Padilha, lover of King Dom Pedro I of Castile (1334-1369), portrayed as a sensual, well-dressed and seductive woman.
There are also other entities such as Cowboys, Gypsies , Orientals, etc.
In order to exercise spiritual work, those responsible for the connection between the spiritual and material world, the mediums, will receive (incorporate) these entities and thus help the querent.