Brazilians make New Year's offerings to sea goddess

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (WTHR) - Worshippers of a sea goddess gathered on Copacabana Beach Saturday to honor the so-called queen of the sea.

The practitioners of Brazil's Afro-Brazilian faiths were singing, playing drums, and dancing around the large statue, during the traditional new year tribute.

People were mostly dressed in white, some prayed and others were blessed by the priests attending the ceremony.

Later, they launched their offerings to the sea, many carried in small boats with flowers, and bowls with candles, fruits, perfume and some drinks.

The organizers said this year the lack of support and resources - normally received from the government of the city - made the celebration more challenging.

The beliefs were brought to Brazil by West African slaves at the beginning of the 19th century.

Many of the worshippers practice an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism and indigenous American beliefs.

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