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Umbanda is the name of an Afro-Brazilian religion that mixes teachings of Alan Kardec’s spiritism , Catholicism and sects brought by the African slaves. Umbanda practices are usually directed by a man or woman called “Pai (or Mãe) de Santo” (saint’s father or mother), a medium that could incorporate died people’s spirits, called “Entidades” (Entities).
These spirits could be Caboclos (Indians), religious figures, doctors, african or brazilian negros as “Pretos Velhos”(Old Blacks). These happen in meetings called “Sessões”(Sessions), in the Tent, a big room with an altar, where members sing “Pontos” (Points, chants for an entity), dance or just hold the entity’s counsels.
Umbanda is often confused with ‘macumba’ by some Brazilians. ‘Macumba’ is another Afro-Brazilian religion, or Black Sorcery, considered by Umbanda specialists as a distortion, because it is based on evil practices, destined to harm presumed enemies, evoking undeveloped spirits, that could be equivalents to the Catholic Hell creatures.
The true Umbandists just practice White Sorcery rituals. In other words, it is done to improve a person’s life, to practice a goodness and never to harm anybody.