Thursday, July 20, 2006

Umbanda - A basic study

I would like to give you some more "technical" information about Umbanda. I found a nice, simple document in Portuguese entitled "Umbanda - A basic study," which I am going to translate and post here.

So, let's get to it.



The Umbanda movement began in Brazil in 1908 when the first “gira” (1) took place.

The first person that we know of to work with a spiritual entity was Zelio Fernandino de Moraes. A Caboclo (2) worked through his medium Zelio and thus our beloved Umbanda was born. The name of the Caboclo was Caboclo 7 Encruzilhadas. Some time after this first manifestation, Zelio opened Brazil’s first Terreiro, Tenda Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

Sometime after that, the newspaper Umbanda no Brasil (Umbanda in Brazil) was created. This newspaper contributed to the spread of Umbanda throughout Brazil for more than 20 years.

Umbanda today is known anywhere in go in Brazil and many countries are also getting acquainted with this wonderful religion due to the migration of Brazilian followers to other countries. One can find Terreiros in the USA, Europe and Japan. But even being so widespread does not help this religion of being seeing as pagan. We still have a long way to go to show that Umbanda is a religion based on Christian love. Jesus Christ is our Oxala and we base all our dogmas in the context of being humble and solidarity.

Even with all the misconceptions, this religion brings more people to the Terreiros every day. Today millions of followers attend weekly or bi-weekly giras all around Brazil. Some of these followers go to the giras whenever they need help, but many are an active part of the giras.

Another aspect that helps the spreading of our beautiful Umbanda is the number of books written about it, as well as magazines with a regular circulation and distribution. The more accessible information about Umbanda becomes, the easier it will for people to understand what the religion entails and that there is nothing to fear, but much to learn.

(1) Gira – Gira is one of the names we give to a gathering in an Umbanda Temple (or Terreiro). There are many types of giras, including “development giras,” where the mediums that are members of the temple learn how to work with their entities, for instance.
(2) Caboclo – Entity that represents the indigenous inhabitants of the Brazilian forests.


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