Festival of the Sea

impressions of a sea festival, by Steve AnthonySteveAnthony
goddessLemanja–the goddess of water, the sea, a festival celebrated every year in Uruguay, of African origin.   A man asked the goddess for love and drowned while reaching to caress her.  You can ask her for anything except love. People dress in white, some dance into a trance, people send out boats laden with offerings of fruits, sweets, candles, and small statues. The beach is full of small grottos carved out in the sand,  with blue offeringsatpocitoscandles burning, blue flowers and white flowers, the color theme repeated in the styrofoam boats and pictures  of Lemanja.
People are standing in lines to be blessed and or purified with branchs dipped in the water, blessing and purifying themselves (but leaving the remains of the ceremonies to clutter up the river). Religion is interesting.  Many many people like me just watching, looking, taking pictures, many people, maybe five thousand, just observing perhaps 2000 in the river purifying and backing out as is the custom.
The little boats, many with burning candles, filling the river as the sun sets.  Picturesque and strange, blue, white, the dying burning sun on the river creating a sound of wind chimes inside me, all in all a transporting from our day to day existence  to a place of mystery.

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