Who is Preto Velho? Why do Brazilians celebrate Pretos Velhos on May 13 (English)

Today I’m going to explain to you who is
Preto Velho “old black man” and why he is important to understanding May 13th–the
day that Brazil became the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery. This
happened 130 years ago in 1888. you know I’ve been living in Brazil for three years now and now I understand why Preto Velho is so important for
afro-brazilians. So it’s 2018 and this year Brazil is celebrating 130 years of
the abolition of slavery but not everybody is celebrating. Come on
let’s think about it what happened after slavery ended. Afro-brazilians received
absolutely nothing. They didn’t receive land. They didn’t receive education and
they didn’t receive any money for all that work they did. Anything today we’re
seeing the effects of this. Afro-brazilians make no more than 65% of
the earnings of Whites in brazil. And there’s a institutionalized genocide
that affects young black brazilians and kills them every day.
Let’s not even talk about what seems like the absence of afro-brazilians from
mainstream media. So should we really be celebrating the abolition of slavery.
There’s a lot of afro-brazilians who don’t celebrate that that day. Instead
they celebrate the day of Preto Velho. Dia de Preto Velho, which is May 13th the
same day that slavery was abolished in Brazil. Now while Preto Velho is the
most popular image let us not forget about Preta Velho old black woman this
is also an image that is celebrated on May 13th it’s just that you won’t see
her as often as you do see that the old black men. Who are Preto Velho and
Preto Velha. They are the manifestations
of the spirits of the enslaved Africans and enslaved blacks who live to an old
age and died enslaved. And they are celebrated in the Umbanda religion now
the Umbanda religion should not be confused with the Candomblé religion
Umbanda is a religion that has african roots but it combines Catholicism with
spiritualism as well as syncretism. And Candomblé has its roots in Bahia while
Umbanda was actually founded right outside of Rio de Janeiro
in the 1930s. When visiting Brazil it is likely that you will come across images
of Preto Velho without actually knowing that you’re looking at Preto Velho.
Now will you go to a samba school or any place that is steeped in afro-Brazilian
culture you’re likely to see an older black man with white hair of the photo
you can see a photo or figure, an older black man with white hair kind of
stumped over a little little bit who is also smoking a cigar and sometimes you
also see his counterpart part Preta Velha an old black woman who may be
dressed in white also maybe sitting down or stunched over these people they are
the spirits of people who were torn away from their homeland, who were abused,
violated but somehow they managed to survive to an old age. This is very
important to note because slavery in Brazil was so brutal that
depending on the type of slavery of a black person endured– gold sugar coffee
–their average survival time after arriving in Brazil was just 10 to 15
years. So an enslaved person who survived into old age was a very special person.
They carried with them the memories of their homeland. They knew how cure people. They knew had their wisdom help to protect the younger people
on the fazendo or the plantation as we call it in English. And perhaps most
importantly, this person passed down their African heritage and
culture whether religion or dance down through their descendants. You know I
asked a couple people on Instagram and on Facebook can someone tell me exactly
why Preto Velho is so important? And I actually have an Instagram friend
who explained to me why preto velho is so important to him. Now this is
Instagram friend is a follower of the Umbanda religion and this is what he had
to say about Preto Velho. I trust him. My Preto Velho calms me comforts me, visit me. He helps me to renew my life and with simplicity he speaks of being gracious
,giving, respectful, and having peace and love. He never leaves me helpless and for
me my Preto Velho is a spiritual guide that rules my life. Now most Americans
aren’t familiar with Umbanda or Preto Velho, but I do think there is some
similarity in how we view our ancestors ,our deceased ancestors, and how we look to them for guidance in our lives. Now think about it. Now you know how when we talk about a deceased grandmother or deceased grandfather and we talk about
how their spirit is with us, guiding us ,giving us guidance in our present life?
This is the exact same thing that is happening when afro-brazilians look to
Preto Velho for guidance. And that is the role of Preto Velho and Preta Velha in
Brazil. Preto Velhos and Preta Velhas are some of the most respected spirits
because their qualities are essential to having a full and good life. Even though
May 13th is the official day of Preto Velhos and Pretas Velhas Umbanda centers throughout Brazil celebrate these spirits throughout the
entire month of May. Unfortunately I haven’t had the
opportunity to visit an Umbanda Center yet but I did watch a couple of videos
in which Umbanda centers were celebrating these spirits and what I
noticed is that the people at the center would actually take on the physical
qualities of these spirits. You know they would hunch over and people would
would help them as as they they danced to the rhythms. So I’ll link a couple of
videos down below so you can actually see what goes on when a Center is
actually celebrating Preto Velho or Preta Velha. You can actually see a
physical representation of Preto Velho in this year’s Sambodromo carnival
. The theme of this Tuiuti samba school was 130 years of the end of slavery or
not? And their opening dance had multiple representations of Preto Velho. Besides being celebrated in Umbanda centers throughout Brazil. Quilombos also celebrate the day of Preto Velho. Now
Quilombos are usually black communities in the interior of Brazil
that are reminiscent of the self-sustaining communities of runaway
slaves that happened during slavery times. And one of the most popular celebrations
of Preto Velho actually happens three hours three hours outside of Rio de
Janeiro at the Quilombo São José de Serra; More than 3000 people descend
on this community of 150 people for 24 hours of samba, jongo dancing and
feijoada. And the highlight of this event this event is a huge bonfire that is set
at midnight by community members in honor of the Preto Velhos and the Preta
Velhas. And after the bonfire is set it burns well into the night until it you
know finally goes out in the morning and people dance jongo, which is
afro-brazilian dance that was developed by enslaved blacks in brazil. Thank you
so much for watching please don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel and
leave a comment if you have more questions about Preto Velho and Preta

About the author


  1. Eu tô amando o teu canal
    Não pare de fazer vídeos! Seja em português, em inglês, ambos.
    Adorei teus vídeos até agora. Ansioso pro próximo!


  2. caiu de paraquedas aqui por conta do reaction, e pra avisar que o instagram na descrição esta dando erro .

  3. Seus vídeos são didáticos e de uma sensibilidade impressionante! Cresci observando e respeitando esses símbolos e acho que de tão naturais, nunca havia parado para fazer uma reflexão mais profunda sobre seus significados de uma maneira tão detalhada. E você fez isso de maneira delicada e brilhante! Muito obrigada! <3 Parabéns de novo e sempre!

  4. O Brasil esta nas maos de bando de jeca-tatu crmnosos e racstas e que entregou o Brasil na mao de oligopolios crminosos …o povo tem mesmo que reinvidicar o Brasil de volta! Fomos "reduzidos" a 57% de diaspora africana no Brasil. Lembre-se os Estados Unidos ja foram "reduzidos a apenas 18%, e ainda assim conseguiram representacao de 20% a 30% no poder. Temos que ter nossa representatividade de 57% a 80%, enquanto ainda podemos fazer isso! Reaja ou Será Morta, Reaja ou Será MortoE' agora ou numca #Eleicos2018 Nao vote em Branco. Vote em Preto. Vote em Preta!Vamos acabar com a escravidaono Brasil! Veja video!! https://vimeo.com/143797713

  5. Growing up in Salvador-Bahia-Brazil was tough and affected deeply my self-pride. The whole Brazilian couture elements and institutions (formal an informal) were designed stereotype negatively people from African diaspora in Brazil. I believe my family structure was the only thing that kept me on track. The Institutional and social-structure racism in Brasil was designed to maintain and ultimate eliminate African diaspora in Brazil because contrary of US with 13% of the population Brazil had 80% of the population in 1800 and now Brazil still have a large population on 57% and the other ethnic groups were and are afraid we run revolutions like in Jamaica or Haiti to liberate themselves even suffer some sort of embargo but gain fully control of the country. All though I believe because is self resourced and greater export Brasil will not suffer many embargo or sanctions like countries Africa and probably will be able to really proclaim equality if African diaspora gain 57% of power control of the countries which is proportional to its population. Specially because there are many wealthy people who wants to invest in a social-economic (strong and modern) corruption free Brazil and I believe for being the oppressed and having no ties to, the vicious racist system current in Brasil, only African diaspora can bring Brazil to the level of dignity and respect needed to make Brazil possible social and economic again. I can already see the day, Oprah and other great investors from other ethnicity decide to invest in Brazil and feel really at home in the Americas…

  6. Growing up their images had a good presence in my life and also help me understand why we must listen, respect and care for eldest. I remember my parents taking us to visit and ask for blessings to our grand-parents and great-grand-mother on my father side and actually sitting and listening to them for long hours. Wonderful experience. As I sat with them for long hours, I develop empathy, one cannot help to see yourself on them. Here in the US, this part is very difficult for me, because I could not develop this sense with my son, he is a good person but I am not sure if he understands the importance of elder people and what they can teach you and so on… I do not know…it is different in a way…I find myself lost sometimes and hopping once my time is done here I can go back home to my own kin… 🙂

  7. Mais uma vez um americano quer trazer guetificação para o Brasil. Quando você puder ir na Umbanda poderá ver que a religião ensina exatamente o oposto disso. Acho que essa religião vai te fazer muito bem.
    Vai se consultar com pretos velhos incorporados em loiros. Vai ver uma religião que ensina a real integração na prática. Já pensou se numa gira de caboclos somente ìndios fossem participar? Veja por si mesma o quão ridículo é associar um arquétipo a apenas uma etnia de buscadores.
    Aproveitando deixo minha impressão após ter adorado assistir o show de Alicia Keys no Rock on Rio e sua bonita manifestação em favor da Amazônia e dos índios, procurei mais videos sobre ela e também foi uma grande decepção (e também por ela ser aquariana…) Típico faça o que eu digo mas não faça o que eu faço. Você fala sobre a falta de diversidade nas novelas (que eu também não assisto mais há muito tempo, nem a Globo), mas não vi críticas a total falta de diversidade em clipes de artistas afro-americanos.
    Definitivamente acho que você deveria entrar para a umbanda, mas num terreiro com a umbanda verdadeira onde o respeito e a vivência entre todas as raças e crenças transformam nossa vida.

  8. Hi Kiratiana, I just subscribed to your channel. I was wondering how to find exchange student programs that help black female exchange students( Brazilian) who want to study in the U.S. I would love to provide housing if any are in need in the Midwest where I am, Can you tell me where to go on the internet?, I can't speak/ read Portuguese so the site has to be in English thank you.

  9. Peace sis!! We follow each other on ig I definitely thought you were Brazilian 😘. I attended an Umbunda when I was in Brazil this makes so much sense. I thought it was Ogun! Well I'm not sure where you live, but if in Rio City I'm sure you know Thais Penhero of connetando territorias( I'm sure I spelled it wrong) she's great! And she's who took me to the Umbunda which was life changing. Hope you make more videos and even some in Portuguese! Tchau 😙

  10. Thank you sister for the education. The enslaved Africans built the wealth and prosperity of the new world and they must receive reparations and justice like all Africans on the face of this earth from European imperialism, and the global system of racism white supremacy! The table will turn in our favor; it is the law of cause and effect.

  11. Preto velho here in Brazil is a falange of spirits ir only onde spirit, and could talk to us in umbanda ritual, and have anoters spirits

  12. Que mulher maravilhosa. Eu nem sei o quanto posso te explicar minha gratidão. Tua voz, teu jeito, tua forma de ser didática e explicar cada detalhe é lindo, além de você ❤️


  14. o simplify is the celebration of the ancestors ,,,,, asking for their wisdom and their resistance in having survived and died old …

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