Ritual – Brazil


Along with many other Brazilian New Years traditions, the subject explained the phenomena of jumping over seven waves on New Years Eve. Similar to the piece of folklore I collected from a Catalina Island native, one must jump over seven waves for good luck in the New Year.

The subject however had a variation on that variation in that after jumping over the seven waves you must make a wish. African slaves brought the origins of this tradition, according to the subject, to Brazil during the slave trade. Moreover, the New Year’s ritual was connected to certain gods like Iemanaja (sun god) and Exu (goddess of the salty sea). After jumping the seven waves one must never turn their back to the sea so one can assume that one would complete the task by facing the sea.

This seems like a more complete rendition of the seven waves tradition than I have heard from others Many people recreate this ritual for New Years but very few people have direct connection to the cultural context that the tradition actually comes from. That is not to say that this ritual is definitely from the Brazilian culture as it is to say that this particular variation has historical and cultural context.