By Paulo Lima | April 04, 2013 at 11:18 PM EDT | No Comments
If You’ve Done Your Taxes Yourself, It’s not Too Late to Get Another Look at Your Return Free at H&R Block
Even if you’ve already filed with TurboTax®, H&R Block tax professionals can look for missed credits or deductions
Los Angeles, CA – This tax season, there were approximately 1,000 changes to the federal individual income tax code. Throw in almost 4,400 state changes and one can start to get a picture why going it alone could be a daunting task.
To ensure taxpayers receive all they can, H&R Block is offering a free Second Look™ through April 30 for TurboTax users and other taxpayers in participating offices or via Block Live. This includes another look at 2012 tax returns and if desired, a review of the past three prior year returns. If properly claimed, commonly missed credits and deductions could result in thousands of dollars of additional money in the pockets of individual taxpayers.
“Taxes are complicated and even smart people miss things. The risk for taxpayers who do their own returns is the possibility of missing out on deductions or credits that can save thousands of dollars,” stated Roland Sabates, tax research manager with The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “Even for those who have already filed their return, it’s not too late to have an H&R Block tax professional take another look. If we find you’ve missed something, we can amend and re-file your return and get you every penny you deserve.”
As the tax filing season approaches its mid-point, taxpayers should be aware of available tax credits and deductions and take a closer look at their 2012 return. Unfortunately, not all tax returns are prepared accurately which can lead to overpayment. Below are the top five missed and misunderstood tax breaks.
1.Higher Education –American Opportunity Credit worth up to $2,500, the Lifetime Learning Credit worth up to $2,000 and the Tuition and Fees Deduction which lowers taxable income up to $4,000.
2.Wrong filing status – For a single parent with two children earning $40,000, selecting single filing status instead of head of household, could cost them approximately $600.
3.Self-employed Schedule C – More than 25 million taxpayers file a Schedule C annually. However, these small business people often miss basic tax breaks they qualify for.
4.Dependent exemption – This tax break, often missed by filers in the sandwich generation and other multi-generational families, lowers taxable income by $3,800
5.Earned Income Tax Credit – Approximately 1 in 5 taxpayers who are eligible for this credit fail to claim it.The credit could be worth up to $5,891.
Additionally, each year, it’s estimated that almost a million taxpayers leave money on the table by not filing a tax return even though they qualify to receive a refund.The median total refund amount for this group is about $600. Taxpayers can still claim any money due from 2009 through 2011 by filing tax returns for those years and by being current on their prior year returns.
For current year returns, clients can access the expertise of H&R Block for a free Second Look review of their 2012 tax return either in one of approximately 11,000 tax offices or from the comfort of home via Block Live. H&R Block’s Second Look provides a professional review of the original tax return from the past three years and advice on what to do if variances are found. For a fee, H&R Block will file an amended or corrected return for the taxpayer. Taxpayers can find a participating H&R Block office or access Block Liveby visitingwww.hrblock.com.
About H&R Block H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world's largest tax services provider. More than 600 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2012, H&R Block had annual revenues of $2.9 billion with 25.6 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by approximately 90,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.
TurboTax is a registered trademark of Intuit, Inc.
By Paulo Lima | April 04, 2013 at 11:00 PM EDT | No Comments
The Real Gamble is not Paying Taxes on March Madness Windfalls
H&R Block gives the tax facts on gambling winnings
LOS ANGELES, CA – March Madness’ bracketology is not only a distraction for many while they should be working, but it also is a hotbed of betting with an estimated $80 million to $90 million wagered legally in Nevada and another $2.5 billion in bets made in office pools and other wagers. H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) advises that no matter the source of winnings, taxpayers may not be aware they need to pay taxes on the money they win.
“When people get money from their friends or co-workers for winning a pool on a sporting event, they tend not to think of it as income, but it is,” said Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “Money won this way or at a casino is miscellaneous income, and it needs to be reported on your tax return.”
Miscellaneous income comes in many forms, including gambling winnings
The income sources taxpayers are more familiar with are wages, salaries, interest, dividends, tips and commissions. Other income comes from a variety of sources – some of which many people don’t even realize are considered “real” income sources and therefore taxable. These are among the other sources of income:
·Cancelation of debt, such as for credit cards and home loans
·Awards, prizes and contests
·Some legal settlements
Money from these sources is potentially taxable even if the recipient doesn’t get a Form 1099-MISC, W-2G or other information document. The exception is when tax law explicitly designates the money as tax-exempt, which can happen with interest from some kinds of municipal bonds.
Plus, certain gambling winnings of more than $5,000, including winnings from a wagering pool, may be subject to 25-percent federal income tax withholding up front.
Taxpayers who win $1,200 or more from slot machines, bingo and some other games may walk away with all of it if they provide their Social Security number and contact information so a W-2G can be issued. If the contact information isn’t provided, the gambling establishment will hold back 28 percent of the winnings to cover the income tax. No matter what, all winnings must be reported on the tax return. Gambling winnings also are taxed by some states.
Some gambling losses are tax-deductible
All gamblers (professional and casual gamblers) may deduct only as much in losses as they report in winnings. Gamblers should keep detailed records of all wins and losses, including “comps,” prizes, etc.
Gambling losses (only up to winnings) can be deducted directly against income only by professional gamblers. The professionals are those who gamble full-time on a regular basis and make their livelihood from gambling. They pay self-employment taxes and file small business tax forms like any other self-employed taxpayer.
Casual gamblers deduct losses (again, only up to winnings) as itemized deductions. Gambling losses are not subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income limitation.
H&R Block’s tax professionals prepare and sign their clients’ tax returns, guaranteeing accuracy and the maximum refund. In-office preparation services include Second Look® reviews, and Block LiveSM, the industry’s only video tax preparation solution. H&R Block At Home™ gives do-it-yourself filers the expertise and guidance of The Tax Institute at H&R Block on their computers, iPads and smartphones. The new My H&R Block Account lets taxpayers upload receipts and other important tax season documents securely, to one place, year-round, for free. The company offers affordable financial products and services through H&R Block Bank, and keeps its offices open and tax conversation going with clients year-round via blogs, tweets and Facebook.
Regardless of who prepares tax returns, taxpayers are legally responsible for the contents. To find the nearest H&R Block office, visit www.hrblock.com or call 800-HRBLOCK.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world's largest tax services provider. More than 600 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2012, H&R Block had annual revenues of $2.9 billion with 25.6 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by approximately 90,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.
About The Tax Institute at H&R Block
The Tax Institute at H&R Block is the go-to source for objective insights on federal and state tax laws affecting the individual. It provides nonpartisan information and analysis on the real world implications of tax policies and proposals to policymakers, journalists, experts and tax preparers. The Institute's experts include CPAs, Enrolled Agents, tax attorneys and former IRS agents. Building off more than 10 years of research and analysis from a specialized tax research group at H&R Block, the company launched The Tax Institute in 2007.
By Paulo Lima | April 04, 2013 at 10:37 PM EDT | No Comments
What Does a Tax Return Have To Do with Health Care? H&R Block Knows... Company launches free tools and services, highlights 2012 income tax return as central to determining health insurance eligibility
LOS ANGELES, CA –– It’s the biggest change to the federal tax code in the past 20 years. But, taxpayers are alarmingly unfamiliar with its impact. The Affordable Care Act – aka health care reform – carries changes that impact just about every taxpayer. A survey conducted by The Tax Institute at H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) found that 3 out of 4 taxpayers do not know what it takes to become eligible for health insurance under the new law.
H&R Block is the only tax preparation company providing clients with a free personalized review of how the health care law would impact them and has launched www.hrblock.com/healthcare for all taxpayers to “test drive” the new law.
The law, passed two years ago and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, mandates that most individuals have health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty via their tax return. Those who qualify could be eligible for government assistance to help pay their insurance premium.
“There certainly is an intersection of health care and taxes,” said Roland Sabates, tax research manager with The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “This tax season will be one of historical significance – both in terms of understanding what credits and deductions remain in the new tax laws, as well as how health care reform will impact taxes. This is not the year to go it alone.”
Taxpayers to receive personalized health care and tax review
The survey conducted by The Tax Institute showed that 77 percent of consumers were unaware the 2012 tax return can be used to determine eligibility for health care benefits. The survey also found that 45 percent of Hispanic respondents were not aware of a possible tax penalty if they do not have health insurance.
Based on 2012 tax returns, H&R Block will provide taxpayers with information showing if they qualify for a subsidy and how much they can expect to pay out of pocket for the monthly premium. In addition, it will detail the possible penalty they would pay if they do not obtain health insurance.
Just who may qualify for a subsidy could surprise some taxpayers. For example:
·A family of four earning approximately $90,000 could be eligible for some government assistance paying for health insurance.
·A married couple with two minor children and income of $40,000 would owe approximately $170 a month for insurance and be eligible for government assistance. If they choose not to obtain insurance their penalty would be $285 for 2014 and $975 for 2015.
“This personalized tax and health care review will be an initial education for the taxpayer as to their options and provide them a solid foundation as they prepare to comply with the health care law later in 2013,” said Sabates.
Take a test drive through health care reform
New for this tax season, H&R Block has launched a website – www.hrblock.com/healthcare. The site is designed to educate consumers on the basics of the law and provide real-life examples of the impact on various taxpayers. This user-driven experience enables the taxpayer to get a sense of the impact of the law through examples of four different taxpayers based on where they live, their family size, income and current health care insurance status.
Taxpayers also can visit the website to access a calculator that can help them determine if they would be eligible for a subsidy.
New tax consequences also emerge from health care law
Beginning with the 2012 tax return, taxpayers who have health insurance through their employer may notice additional data on their W-2 detailing the cost of their employer-provided insurance. That information is for informational purposes only to help individuals understand the true cost of health insurance, but is not a taxable benefit to employees.
In addition, several provisions of the law go into effect:
·The threshold for deducting medical expenses for those who itemize moves up from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of adjusted gross income for most taxpayers.
·The cap on health flexible spending accounts goes from $5,000 to $2,500.
·There is an additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on single filers with earned income in excess of $200,000 and married couples filing jointly with income of in excess of $250,000. The additional tax only applies to the amount of income above these thresholds.
“Universally, people don’t understand what health care reform is, what they need to do and where to go for help,” Sabates said. “There are so many intersections between the health care law and taxes, and that is where H&R Block is the expert and here to help.”
By Paulo Lima | September 19, 2012 at 07:54 PM EDT | No Comments
São Paulo State Promotes Afro-Brazilian Culture Through Religious Festival
On September 23, 2012, the São Paulo State Ministry of Culture will be promoting Afro-Brazilian culture by supporting the 3rd Curimba Festival dedicated to Umbanda's youth organized by Aldeia de Caboclo. This festival seeks to promote social and religious fellowship of Afro-Brazilian culture through music and dance. The Third Festival of Curimba will celebrate Aldeia de Caboclo's thirteenth anniversary and it will have the participation of twenty youth groups arriving from several regions of São Paulo.
Part of the program consists of a contest where the participating groups will compete for best curimba(1), best performer, best lyrics, best melody, best choreography and best costumes. In addition, one of the main attractions of the event, the singer Rita Benneditto, will perform a show titled "Tecnomacumba," with songs from her own repertoire.
The São Paulo Ministry of Culture and its Office of Culture, Gender and Ethnicity (ACGE) are proud to promote Afro-Brazilian culture through music, dance, and the engagement of young performers.
For more information on this event, visit www.aldeiadecaboclos.com.br or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the Office of Culture, Gender and Ethnicity (ACGE)'s website at www.generoseetnias.com.br (sites in Portuguese).
Casa de Shows e Eventos Expresso Brasil
Avenida Aricanduva, 11500 - São Paulo
September 23, at 1PM
(1) Curimba and curimbeiro are terms used in Umbanda religion referring to members of the group who perform sacred songs (prayer-like songs) that seek to harmonize and energize the religious environment and space during religious ceremonies. Songs are usually accompanied by the beating of drums, which serve to pay homage to religious spirits and orixas.
By Paulo Lima | September 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM EDT | No Comments
The São Paulo State Ministry of Culture, through the coordination of its Advisory for Hip Hop and in partnership with Matilha Cultural, a not-for-profit organization that promotes cultural events and environmental initiatives in downtown São Paulo, is promoting the second edition of its Hip Hop Project: Literature, Memory and Orality.
According to a press release issued by the São Paulo State Advisory for Hip Hop, "with the expansion of Hip Hop culture and its recognition as a cultural manifestation, other cultural events, such as literature, became connected to it. This literature, through its identification with Rap (Rhythm and Poetry, Hip Hop music culture written by MC's), began to be developed using a similar language and modes of expression. Once viewed as marginal or peripheral, Hip Hop literature is now widely spread, appearing in cultural activities such as soirees, where poems are recited and sung following the same format and content derived from Rap and Hip Hop styles."
In order to promote the connections between Hip Hop and literature, the Secretary of Culture of São Paulo developed a pilot project to articulate issues related to literature, memory and oral communication among youth, educators and students. Guided by Hip Hop culture, this project seeks to promote oral traditions articulated by Hip Hop in association with new modes of writing and expression that draw from this culture.
Putting in conversation two forms of cultural expression and communication, the event will bring together several artists such as Alafia Band, Allan da Rosa, Marcio Barbosa, Esmeralda Ortiz, Tula Pilar, Emerson Alcalde, and Willian Delarte, among others.
For additional information, visit website in Portuguese http://www.matilhacultural.com.br/programacao-matilha-cultural/eventos/item/536-matilha-recebe-projeto-hip-hop-literatura-mem%C3%B3ria-e-oralidade.html
Hip Hop: Literature, Memory and Orality
September 26, 2012 - 6:30PM
Rua Rego Freitas, 542 - República - Centro - São Paulo
By Paulo Lima | September 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM EDT | No Comments
According to a media note posted on the U.S. Department of State website, "The United States and Brazil were scheduled to hold a technical meeting of the U.S.–Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality (Joint Action Plan) on August 21-22, 2012 in Brasilia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kevin Whitaker was set to lead the U.S. Government delegation along with the Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali. The Secretary’s Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, Reta Jo Lewis, the Director of the Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit, Zakiya Carr Johnson, and other officials from the Department of State, the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Commerce would also participate.
The meeting was set to focus on accomplishments since the December 2011 Steering Group Meeting in Washington, DC. A seminar on “Equity in Education” was also scheduled to take place on August 23 and 24 following the technical meeting.
Joint Action Plan government meetings include members of civil society and the private sector and allow Brazilian and American participants to address issues relating to the promotion of racial and ethnic equality in both countries. The primary goals of the meeting include sharing best practices and seeking greater opportunities to expand access to education for students of African descent; eliminating racial health disparities in the United States and Brazil; mitigating environmental impacts in rural and urban communities of African descent; addressing challenges in the criminal justice systems; and guaranteeing equal access to economic opportunities ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
The Joint Action Plan, signed in March 2008, pledges ongoing collaboration between the two governments to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and to promote equal opportunity for all."
By Paulo Lima | August 24, 2012 at 07:45 PM EDT | No Comments
The Tamarind Institute, a cutting edge institution working with arts in New Mexico for more than 50 years, is celebrating Afro-Brazilian culture with a new exhibit that features artworks from Brazil and the United States.
The multi-faceted project, designed to facilitate a conversation between black artists from Brazil and the United States through lithography, has been widely acclaimed in its summer exhibition in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This summer, three artists from Brazil: Sidney Amaral, Rosana Paulino, and Tiago Gualberto have had the opportunity to share the gallery space with fellow American artists Alison Saar, Toyin Odutola, and Willie Cole.
The exhibit, currently on display at the Tamarind Gallery, features 20 art pieces in a variety of media: woodcuts, pen ink, mixed media, monotype, acrylic and graphite, stitching on fabric, ink, lithograph, matchsticks, charcoal and smoke, etc. Artworks display the commitment and critic that these young artists have in relation to notions of race, ethnicity, and other forms of identification and social issues.
It was great to visit the gallery and experience Sidney Amaral (São Paulo) and Toyin Odutola (San Francisco) working together in collaboration in order to create unique pieces that will be on display in the gallery this coming week. Congratulations to the Tamarind Institute for offering black Brazilian artists with the opportunity to display their talent in the United States and also for its commitment in bridging the gap between African American communities and Brazil through this exhibit.
Through August 31; Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
"Afro: Black identity in America and Brazil"
2500 Central SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Sidney Amaral, São Paulo - www.flickr.com/photos/sidney_amaral/
By Paulo Lima | August 16, 2012 at 05:16 PM EDT | No Comments
Afro-Brazilian.com Announces Third Quarter Winners for
First Year Anniversary Sweepstakes
Website celebrates anniversary with quarterly online promotions
worth an estimated $10,000
Congratulations to the third quarter winners!
Dinner for Two at Hilton Checkers Downtown
Antonio Macias, Joana Villa, Charles Opong,
Daisy Fujii-Ramos, Andrew Wong
Five Complimentary Sanginitto Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Classes
Dante Giles, Francisco Landeros, Andrew Solis
Universal Art Gallery Art Framing Services
Aristote Tumba, Mireya Vera
Dinner at Café Brasil
Wesley Williams, Patricia Reynaga, Ivan Acosta
California African American Museum Gift Basket
inTheNest Pearl Necklace
Massage Session at Massage Therapy Center
Everyone Tone A Testimony Double CD Set
Cook Like a Rockstar With Suzanne Lenzer Cookbook
Dinner at Bossa Nova
Starbucks Gift Card
Authentic Male Brasil Clothing
Authentic Female Brasil Clothing
Zakiya Carr Johnson
Havaianas “Team Brasil” Flip Flops
Havaianas “Brasil Flag” Flip Flops
Dinner at Bella Vista Gourmet Pizza
Rita Davis, Kevin Glenn Taylor II, Shariar Sharifi, Melissa Robles, Luis Miramontes
Contemporary Arrangements from Downtown Flowers
Marie Garcia, Ana Siliva Perez
Sotheby’s The Martin Luther King Jr. Collection
Jessica Thorpe, Jeff Forman, Antonio Neves
Mercury Wine Bottle Set
Chantel Zapata, Lisa Ahlstedt
Dinner for Two at Plataforma Churrascaria Rodizio
The final quarter of sweepstakes has already begun and will end on April 30, 2013. Winners will be announced on May 15, 2013.
To enter and register to win, contestants must visit
Afro-Brazilian.com’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AfroBrazilian) like the page, click the mobile sweepstakes app button, enter your information and click the “enter now” button to complete your registration.
By Paulo Lima | April 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM EDT | No Comments
From left to right: Mr. Kim L. Hunter, Afro-Brazilian.com Founder; Mr. Paulo Lima, Afro-Brazilian.com Editorial Director; Mr. Marcelo Dias, Human Rights Activist, Rio de Janeiro; Mr. Marcio Santos, Advisor for Social and Cultural Inclusion of Afro-Brazilians, at the State Secretariat of Culture, Sao Paulo State Government; and Ms. Claudia R. Franciosi, Manager for Community Mobilization at Volunteer Partners, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.
On April 16, 2012, Afro-Brazilian.com met with Brazilian professionals who were visiting the United States through an exchange program administered by the U.S. State Department called the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). For three weeks, the visitors travel across the United States visiting 3-4 different cities, meeting with their professional counterparts on specific topics relevant to their background and expertise. The visit to Los Angeles was organized by the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA), which help implement the IVLP on the local level in Los Angeles. Their purpose is to increase mutual understanding at the professional and personal levels and thereby contribute to improving relations between the United States and other countries. Through this program, established or potential foreign leaders in government, media, business, education, science, arts, and other key fields are selected by American embassies overseas to experience the U.S. first hand.
Participants visiting LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS and Afro-Brazilian.com were particularly interested in understanding how media outlets such as afro-brazilian.com was created to bridge the gap between African Americans and Afro-Brazilians. They were impressed with the content of the website and happy to learn that such interest in the Afro-Brazilian culture exists in the United States.
In our conversation today, Mr. Dias, Mr. Santos, and Ms. Franciosi kindly and candidly shared their thoughts on race relations and struggles in Brazil. For them, the Brazilian government has implemented many social programs that enhance the overall well being of the population but no specific programs have been targeting the black population in particular. Now that Brazil and the United States are organizing a bi-lateral program to bring 100,000 Brazilian students to the United States, one of the main concerns of Brazilian activists is to provide access to minority students, especially students of Afro-Brazilian descent. Brazil has to make sure that among the students coming to study in the United States in the next few years, some are people of color. One of the main inequalities in the Brazilian society of today is that although Brazilians of Afro descent compose at least fifty percent of the total population, they have little representation in positions of power (business leadership, university professors, medical doctors, lawyers, government, etc...). Although Brazil has implemented the system of quotas or "affirmative action" enabling Brazilians from racial minorities to enter public universities, the number of blacks in higher education is still low.
Afro-Brazilian.com offered to support Brazilian activists, community leaders, university professors, and government representatives in terms of raising awareness about social inequalities as well as the effectiveness of enrichment programs that have helped the country to grow. One of these enrichment programs introduced to the website today was Parceiros and Voluntarios (Partners and Volunteers), a non-profit organization based in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, that is dedicated to teach and mentor other non-profit organizations on management skills, from writing a grant proposal to establishing rapport.
Mr. Kim L. Hunter, Afro-Brazilian.com Founder, was delighted with the visit organized by IVCLA. He was particularly happy that black Brazilians were taking this opportunity to learn more about the African-American culture first hand.
To learn more about IVCLA and its programs please visit: www.ivcla.org.
By Paulo Lima | February 04, 2011 at 02:27 PM EST | No Comments
Brazil has been highly influence by the African culture when it comes to religion. One of the most important representations of this influence is Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion derived mainly from the west coast of Africa, and practiced all over the country, especially in the States of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. During the period that slave-trade was practiced in Brazil, roughly between the mid 1500’s to 1888, blacks transported from Africa were not allowed to bring with them any of their personal belongings. All they had, in their hearts and memory, were their cultural background and their faith in their gods. When in Brazil, as a strategy to keep them apart, the Portuguese and Brazilian masters would separate families and force people of different ethnicities to live together. When the slaves had an opportunity to meet, they would chant and dance for their gods. The Catholic Church forced them to be baptized and to follow the Catholic religion, however the conversion did not really occur and the African religion was practiced in secret and under the disguise of religious syncretism, where African Orixás ended up being associated with Catholic Saints. In Candomblé, practitioners worship gods and goddesses that are linked to the forces of nature. These gods and goddesses are called Orixás, and they are, in general, representations of nature. Thus, Yemanjá is associated with the Sea, Ogum with iron, and Oxossi with the forest. There are hundreds of Orixás in the African pantheon, but in Brazil just a few of them are worshipped. The most worshipped Orixás in Bahia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are: Yemanjá, Iansã, Oxum, Nanã, Ewa, Obá, Exu, Ogun, Obaluayê, Ossain, Oxóssi, Oxalá, Oxumarê, Xangô, and Logun Ede, among others. The gods worshipped in each “terreiro” (cult-house) will vary depending on the “Nation” and the tradition of the house (Jeje-Nago, Bantu, Ketu, etc.). During the religious ceremonies of Candomblé, practitioners possessed by their Orixas, in a transe-like state, will dance and sing. Food, music and other offerings are presented to the deities, and sometimes to the audience, who are welcome to the public ceremonies (many of the ritualistic rites are private, and only available to those who are members of the cult-house).
By Paulo Lima | February 04, 2011 at 02:24 PM EST | No Comments
Brazil has the largest population of African-origin people outside of Africa. Until 2000, almost half of the Brazilian population was composed by African descents. The multiplicity of cultural and ethnic backgrounds that compose the Brazilian population can be traced from Europe (Portuguese, Spanish, Jewish, German, Slavic and Italians), Asia (Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans), Arabic communities, Amerindians and Africans. Many aspects of the Brazilian culture have been influenced by the African population that started to arrive in Brazil during the slave-trade, which began in the sixteenth century and lasted about three hundred years, until its abolition in 1888. The region that had most of its influence from the African culture was the northeastern region, where a large number of the black population is concentrated. Bahia, one of the largest states in Brazil, and located in the Northeast, is a place where one can find traces of African origins in many of its cities. As in many other parts of Brazil, Bahian music, cuisine, language, dance, art, and religion have been highly influenced by the African culture. In the streets of Salvador one can find people practicing capoeira, a type of martial art developed by the slaves as a means of defense, and the delicious acarajé, caruru, and vatapá. “These cultural practices and Afro-Brazilian identities have resisted, survived, and evolved—and new forms have been created—in the face of political and social repression and economic marginalization both during and after slavery.” 
Many other aspects of the Brazilian culture have also been shaped by the African culture. In music, we have Samba, Congada, Maracatu, Carvalhada, Bumba-Meu-Boi, and Mozambique. They provide intense rhythms and sounds that pulsate on the streets and clubs of Brazil, especially during Carnival, an annual festival that takes place during the week before the Christian observance of Lent, either in the months of February or March, depending on the Catholic calendar. Music, such as samba and the rehearsal of samba clubs in preparation for the Carnival parade have become an opportunity for social gathering and celebration.
 Crook, Larry and Randhal Johnson (eds.) Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization. Los Angeles: UCLA-Latin American Center Publications, 1999. Page 1