Umbanda is one of the most popular variants of Afro-Brazilian religions. It developed in the first decades of the 20th century in the Rio de Janeiro area and has been read, sociologically, as an attempt by White, middle-class spiritists to adapt the Afro-Brazilian religions to their habitus and morality. They did this by discarding those African characteristics that they found most offensive: animal sacrifices, drumming, and possession trance dancing. In addition, they distanced the religion from its African origins and instead postulated India or Lemuria as more appropriate locales of birth.

According to what most scholars have considered the Umbanda foundation myth, the religion was born on November 15, 1908, when an Indian spirit, the Caboclo das Sete Encruzilhadas, arrived at a Kardecist session and announced ...

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