Mother Meninazinha de Oshun

Intangible Cultural Heritage - São João de Meriti


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Youngest of 15 children, "Mãe Meninazinha de Oxum" (Mother Meninazinha de Oshun), 74, is the granddaughter and heiress to Iyá Davina (Davina Pereira), who has roots in the high lineage of Candomblé (an African-Brazilian religion) in Bahia.

The friendly and powerful religious, one of the most celebrated in Rio, runs the Ilê Omolu Oxum "terreiro" (a type of temple where religious rituals are performed), opened in Nova Iguaçu, in 1968, and, five years later, transferred to São João de Meriti, where it is located nowadays.

With a life dedicated to preserving the rituals of Candomblé and religiously supporting the local community, the Iyalorisha (or "mãe-de-santo", as the priestesses of Umbanda, Candomblé, and Quimbanda, the African-Brazilian religions, are called) explains that she has already initiated more than 150 "filhos-de-santo" (every person who actually has a commitment to an Orisha, Vodun or Inkice and follows the religion of Candomblé) in the "terreiro". "We really stand together", says the "mãe-de-santo", whose name is Maria do Nascimento.

 Photo: Isabela Kassow / Diadorim Ideias.

A unit of the project Ponto de Cultura since 2009, the "terreiro" hosts social and cultural projects, such as African crafts, dance, painting, and typical cuisine workshops. Students learn to prepare abará, caruru, acarajé, among other dishes. They also develop, in the Iyá Davina Memorial, research and documentation of objects, photographs, drawings, certificates, and texts concerning the religion of the orishas, the first Candomblé communities and "terreiros" in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2009, the group released the CD "Ilê Omolu Oxum - Cantigas e Toques Para Orixás", with traditional songs of the African religions. Recorded with the support from the program Petrobras Música(Petrobras Music Program), the CD was the first in the series "Documentos Sonoros" (Sound Documents), a project by the National Museum which seeks to register the oral and musical expressions of various cultures and ethnicities in Brazil.

Using religious instruments and the voice of Mother Meninazinha, the CD presents 45 songs (vocal and instrumental), four rings (instrumental), and two greetings (a capella). It was released in official ceremonies in the "terreiro", at the National Museum, in Brasília, among other places.

General Information


The "terreiro" organizes parties for Ogun and Oxóssi (April), Oshun (May), Omolu (July), Oya (August), Oxalá(September) and for ayabás, as the orishas (female deities) are called (November), always on the last Saturday of the month.

Address: General Olímpio Fonseca Street, 380, Parque São Nicolau
Phone: (+55 21) 2756-7635
E-mail address:

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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