Goddess of the Week: Lemanja

You know what you would be doing if you were in exotic Rio de Janeiro right now? You'd be joining millions of revelers at the Copacabana Beach and ringing in the New Year with fireworks, dancing and gifts to the goddess Lemanja. You would set your gifts right on the waves in hopes that this ocean goddess, originally brought to the Americas by African slaves and known as Yemaja, would grant you your new year's wishes.

Of course, in my part of the world we do things a little differently. We paste flowers, seeds and all manner of verdant things on parade floats. Then--if we are bold and much, much younger--we spend all night on a city street and throw tortillas at passing cars. In the morning, we--the bolder, younger ones of us--shuffle off to port-a-potties and watch our gigantic and mechanized tributes to nature glide down the street: beacons of the cleanliness and alertness we now crave.

Those of us who are older and wiser make nice with the local Lemanjas. They get you inside access to the spectacle. You can watch people actually decorating the floats, and you don't get whacked with a tortilla, which is really how you want to start your New Year.

Happy New Year everyone!

And thanks to Petrea, who has more pictures here. This goddess is for you.


Cafe Pasadena said...

Have a Happy New Yrs Eve & Day, Goddess Margaret!

Btw, you have any fotos of you tossing tortillas, pastries, or just books & pencils??

Margaret said...

ummmm....no comment on that one. Happy New Year, Pup.

Jean Spitzer said...

Didn't know about the tortilla whacking tradition. Flour or corn? Or have I missed the point?

Happy new year, to all us closet Brazilians.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

......and some of us who are were once bold and so much younger had our wiser ones (parents) document our suffering.

Happy New Year to you and yours

Daisy said...

In our family midnight was ushered in with pickled herring, rye bread and whiskey! Didn't toss anything!

However you celebrate, much happiness in 2011.

Barbara and Daisy

Petrea said...

Oh, thank you, Margaret! No wonder the grocery stores were all out of tortillas. I thought that was a Doo Dah Parade tradition, but I am so--well, let's just say I'm not one of the bolder, younger ones who's up on all this stuff.

Nice photo, by the way!

My WV is trampl. I hope no one gets trampled. The crowds are already loading up on Colorado Blvd.

Shell Sherree said...

I imagine you to be quietly tossing edible roses, not tortillas. Happy New Year, dear Margaret!

Deb said...

:o) The tortilla tossing is something I hadn't heard of, but it doesn't surprise me. Ha! We enjoyed a quiet evening in which was just fine with me.

Thanks so much for the very nice comments you leave on my blog. They are most appreciated! Happy new year, Margaret.

... daisy... said...

Happy New Year dear Margaret!!!

Jess said...

What the age cutoff for tortilla flinging? That sounds like a good time, and I have some tortillas that need put to use. Happy New Year!

Bec said...

Happy New Year! I'm dreading the day my daughter gets the idea that she wants to sleep out on the route. I'll definitely need a goddess when that day comes!

Susan Campisi said...

I hadn't heard about the tortilla tossing either. I drove down Colorado Blvd New Year's eve and the kids were throwing shaving cream balls at cars. Maybe that's a new tradition. Happy New Year, Margaret. I look forward to a 2011 filled with Goddesses.