23 Facts About Umbanda


Umbanda is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends traditional African religions with Roman Catholicism, Spiritism, and Indigenous American beliefs.

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Since then, Umbanda has spread across mainly southern Brazil and neighboring countries like Argentina and Uruguay.

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Umbanda has many branches, each one with a different set of beliefs and practices.

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Umbanda practitioners believe in a supreme creator god; the use of a medium to contact the spirits of deceased people; reincarnation and spiritual evolution through many physical existences; and the practice of charity.

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Umbanda is juxtaposed with Quimbanda which now reclaims its identity as a separate religion and distinct from Umbanda.

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One hundred years after its establishment, Umbanda divided itself into several branches with different beliefs, creeds, and practices.

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Umbanda has one supreme god known as Olorum and many divine intermediary deities called Orixas.

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Umbanda temples are autonomous organizations that focus around a leader, mediums, initiates and lay members.

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One hundred years after its establishment, Umbanda is divided into several branches with different rituals and ceremonies.

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The older Terreiros de Umbanda, those established before 1940, have not integrated these new trends and still practice the original rites and ceremonies in a simpler way, specially dedicating themselves to charity works, as preached by Zelio de Moraes and his group.

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Umbanda originated in South America and developed in the Portuguese Empire.

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Umbanda religion started in a time when the Brazilian society was passing through a strong transformation process.

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Until 1966 many Umbanda Terreiros had a Getulio Vargas picture in a place of honor.

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Umbanda was a great soccer back player known by the nickname Jau, that played with the Corinthians team from 1932 to 1937 and with the Brazil's national team in 1938 World Cup in France.

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Some Umbanda leaders call him the great martyr of their religion.

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Independent Terreiros of Umbanda started to unite themselves in federations to strengthen its position against social discrimination and police repression.

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However, the Umbanda cults were still looked with suspicion by the Police Departments that demanded a compulsory registration of the Terreiros.

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Meanwhile, some non-Brazilian scholars, including French sociologist Roger Bastide, who from 1938 to 1957 was professor of Sociology at the University of Sao Paulo, produced sympathetic accounts of Umbanda and defended its practitioners' rights to religious freedom.

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Umbanda received criticism from the Catholic Church, which disagreed with the worship of spirits and the comparison that many Umbandistas made between Catholic Saints and Orixas.

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In 1974 Umbanda practitioners were estimated to be about 30 million in a population of 120 million Brazilians.

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Umbanda practitioners have taken cases to national courts and achieved a high measure of success.

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In 2005 the Superior Orgao de Umbanda do Estado de Sao Paulo won a judicial case in the Federal Court against the television broadcasting systems Rede Record and Rede Mulher, that belong to the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus, a Neo Pentecostal Church.

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Many people attend the Terreiros of Umbanda seeking counseling or healing, but they do not consider themselves Umbandistas.

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