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Yemanja (Festival of the Goddess of the Sea) – Montevideo & Punta Del Este, Uruguay

Where: Montevideo & Punta del Este, Uruguay

When: February 2nd, each year

Places To Stay: Montevideo and Punta del Este hotels

On February 2nd of each year, thousands of people walk onto the beaches of Uruguay to honor Yemanja (also spelled Iemanga and Yemaja) and pray for her protection.

The festival begins in the afternoon and stretches late into the night.  The beaches fill with thousands of candles.

Participants generally dress in light blue or white, and make offers to Yemanja including fruit and flowers. Sand sculptures are often made in the sandy beach, and some build small boats and send them off with candles and flowers.

The tradition started with slaves that were brought to Argentina, but now is a celebration for all.  Yemanja symbolizes motherhood, and the ceremonies include dancing, singing and drumming.

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