Although in Brazil the selected date is December 31st, in Uruguay she is worshipped every February 2nd.On this day, thousands of people will gather at different beaches to honor Iemanja and receive her blessing and protection. Although most beaches will be crowded, the most popular one is Playa Ramírez. Not only devotees will attend, every year more and more curious people will stop by to watch the festivity. They start arriving in the afternoon and they will leave late at night, around 3 in the morning.
Celebrants are mostly dressed in white or light blue and they will make different kinds of offers to the goddess. The most common offers are flowers, watermelons and candles. However, some people go a little further by making sand sculptures or small boats that will carry a sculpture of her and will be full of fruits and foods of different kinds, money, candles and whatever you can imagine.
Sometimes even some animals, such as chicken or pigeons will be sacrificed and their blood given to Iemanja. The offers will be launched into the sea and if they are swept out she will have accepted the offer. In return, the person making the offer will have their wishes come true enjoying health, money and a great love life. If the offers return to the shore, whishes unfortunately won’t come true. At sunset is when most people get into the sea to make the offer but this will continue until late at night, especially with people lighting candles and putting them in holes they dig in the sand
Before and after the offers are made celebrants will form a circle and dance to the rhythm of the drums while some people get blessed by pais and mais. These people can communicate with the orixas and with the spirits of dead people that are walking around and give them protection. When she gets out of the water, the mai is in a trance. She will spin around and speak in Yoruba, the African language that the orixas speak. In that moment, she is not herself, she has been taken by an orixa and she will offer protection to the supplicants.