August 16 is generally when many celebrate the feast for Omolu/Obaluayê (who is associated with St. Lazarus and St. Roche).
Obaluayê (oh-baloo-ai-YAY) is the praise name meaning “King of the Earth” and is strongly associated with infectious disease and healing, as well as the earth itself. Legend has it that Obaluayê was born to Nanã Buruku who abandoned him as a baby as he had wounds all over his body. Yemanjá found him and covered him in straw and took care of him as her own. Because of that, he became the orixá of diseases and the healing of them. Also referred to as Omolu, meaning “son of the Lord of Heaven”, the orixá’s face is thought to be so scarred by disease and so terrifying that he appears covered with a raffia/straw masquerade that covers his whole body. “Atotô” is said to greet this orixa, and grains and popcorn are common offerings.
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