Umbanda: Beliefs, History, Quotes and Facts

Umbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African religions with Catholicism, Spiritism and Kardecism, and considerable indigenous lore

Some common beliefs are the existence of a single, supreme creator god represented in the Orixá Olorum or Oxala; the existence of natural forces or deities called Orixás that act as divine energy and forces of nature; spirits of deceased people that counsel and guide believers through troubles in the material world; psychics, or mediums, who have a natural ability that can be perfected to bring messages from the spiritual world of Orixás and the guiding spirits; reincarnation and spiritual evolution through many material lives (karmic law) and the practice of charity and social fraternity.

In 1974 Umbanda practitioners (Including declared and undeclared) were estimated to be about 30 million in a population of 120 million Brazilians.

After the 1970s the Umbanda cults begun to be opposed and, in some cases, persecuted. The practice of Umbanda and all the African-Brazilian religions has been condemned rightly as black witchcraft and devil worship, as evil and of the devil, and the incorporation of Orixás is called demon possession.

A large number of the Umbanda followers have left their false religion, especially in the favelas. The Favela de Dona Marta, a shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, had in the middle of 1980s, six Terreiros de Umbanda, one Terreiro de Candomblé and one Spiritism Center. Today, all of them are closed.

In the 2000 Brazilian census, 432,000 Brazilians declared themselves Umbandistas, a 20% drop in relation to the 1991 census. Many people attend the Terreiros of Umbanda seeking counseling or healing, but they do not consider themselves Umbandistas.

Despite all the troubles in the past or present, the Umbanda sadly remains strong and renovated in Brazilian main cities like Rio de Janeiro (the greatest concentration of Umbandists) and São Paulo (the second greatest concentration of Umbandistas). After the 1970s, Porto Alegre, the capital of the most southern Brazilian State, became the base of expansion of the Umbanda to Uruguay, Argentina. Today, Umbanda followers can be found in various parts of the United States as well.
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