Candomblé initiates in procession to the Quilombo dos Palmares on the Dia da Consciência Negra. This is the place of Zumbi’s resistance to the Portugueses. Zumbi, an ex slave, reigned over the Quilombo dos Palmares until his seizure and decapitation on November 20th 1695.
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Photos: Bruno Zanzottera
During the celebrations for Black Awareness Day in north-eastern Brazil, rites and possessions by spirits flourish. In the Quilombo de los Palmares, the epic deeds of Zumbi are honoured, a former slave who led the resistance against the Portuguese in the 17th century, creating a great state of freed people, a “Promised Land” for the many slaves fleeing from the sugar cane plantations. Zumbi was finally captured and beheaded in Recife in 1655, but became a symbol for all the inhabitants of African origin, especially for the followers of Umbanda and Candomblé. During this time of year, the worshippers of these faiths, born from the syncretism of African religions and Catholicism which were vetoed by the land owners in order to annihilate the slaves, even at a cultural level, gather in Zumbi's historical locations for great celebrations.