Postcard Friendship Friday 081: Oxumaré and the rainbow flag

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Has anyone heard about the Fairy Hobmother? Several blogs I visited last week have been talking about this fairy who visits blogs from all over the world and grants their wish. In the beginning, I was doubtful about his (yes, this fairy is a HE!) existence but when I learned of his visit to a friend’s blog here in the Penh – wow! I became a believer instantly. I hope he’d visit me, too. I have a long wishlist 🙂 Don’t worry, dear Fairy Hobmother, they’re all not expensive. They’re just stuff I need for crafting that are not found here. I’m not asking for tablets, smartphones or sterling silver jewelry – but, of course, if the Fairy Hobmother gives any of those to me, who am I to refuse? *wink*

While I wait for the fairy’s visit, here’s my entry for this week.

Oxumare-Brazil-s-rainbow-serpent

Oxumaré (O-Shoo-Ma-Ray) is  the mythical rainbow serpent deity in the Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion practiced mainly in Brazil (and other neighbouring countries). This practice originated mainly in Salvador, the capital of the popular Bahia region.In Candomblé, many Gods are worshiped each with their own special powers and for specific reasons. These Gods are known as Orishas or deities and represent certain things. Each Orisha has a specific power; they have individual skills, personalities and rituals. The Orishas have different things that symbolize their powers. People who practiceCandomblé believe that each person has their own Orish and that Orisha control his or her destiny and acts as a protector.

It is believed that Orishas represent a certain force of nature and are connected to certain foods, colors, animals, material goods, and days of the week. A person’s Orisha can be decided by their personality and character. There are Orishas for everything and are found everywhere, from hospitals to homes.  – Source

Oxumaré contributes to the cycle of life and fertility which is why one of the minor symbols of the orishá is an umbilical cord, the connection to the supernatural. Those who practice Candomblé do not kill snakes because of the relation to Oxumaré.According to this site, Oxumaré is very much associated with sexual fluidity, especially in Candomblé that draw on Umbanda. Oxumaré is sometimes said to have the power to turn individuals homosexual and/or change their gender. The writer went on to explain that Oxumaré’s rainbow as a symbol related to same-sex attraction preceded the modern Gay movement’s rainbow flag.

Candomblé was brought from Africa to Brazil between the 16th-19th century, about the time when the Portuguese brought African slaves to the Americas. It was religion borne out of the attempts made  by the enslaved Africans to recreate their culture thousands of miles away from their homeland.

Obrigada, Fernanda!

4 thoughts on “Postcard Friendship Friday 081: Oxumaré and the rainbow flag

  1. The bright colours certainly make me think of something African or Brazilian! I 'd never heard of these Orishas, I wonder how many people still believe and follow them.

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