Pretos Velhos Festival in Brazil Date in the current year: May 13, 2018

Pretos Velhos Festival in Brazil The Pretos Velhos Festival is observed on May 13 by Brazilians who practice the Umbanda religion. It commemorates the abolition of slavery in Brazil.

Umbanda is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends traditional African beliefs with Catholicism, Allan Kardec’s spiritism, and indigenous American traditions. It is believed to have originated in and around Rio de Janeiro in the early 20th century. According to a recent census, Umbanda has around 400,000 members in Brazil.

Most followers of Umbanda believe in spirits, of which there are three distinct levels: pure spirits, good spirits and evil spirits. The so-called Pretos Velhos (Old Black Men) are considered to be good spirits. In fact, they are among the most beloved, respected and venerated spirits in Umbanda.

Umbanda followers believe that Pretos Velhos are kind, wise and peaceful spirits of old slaves who died in slavery. They know everything about suffering, hope, forgiveness and compassion. When a medium incorporates a Preto Velho, he or she has difficulty walking and standing straight, and has to sit down before talking.

Umbanda followers honor Pretos Velhos on May 13. Such a date was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the Golden Law (Lei Áurea) that abolished slavery in Brazil. It was signed by Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil on May 13, 1888. Brazil was the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery.

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Category

Religious Holidays, Folk Festivals

Country

Brazil

Tags

Pretos Velhos Festival in Brazil, holidays in Brazil, religious holidays, folk festivals, Umbanda