The ABC of South America travel blog

A part of the crowd gathered near Igreja NS da Coneicao (church...

It's "Bonfim 2014"

This guy got the crowd going

Bonfim is the destination

And we're off, in a bit of a crush

There are all sorts of causes and groups represented

Some of the Bahai flower-carrying 'aunts' getting ready

One of the 'aunts'

Another of the 'aunts' posing with her flowers

Getting her strength up with a quick fag, ready for the big...

These guys had a high profile, here on their bus

And here, on the march

Music plays a big part

With plenty of characters

This is what it says on their shirts

And plenty of fancy dress...example 1

Example 2

Example 3

More music

Where there are people there are selling opportunities: hats for sale

And where there are people there is rubbish: wot no cans?

Correct, no cans on the street cos they are all collected by...

Not all the residents were happy with all the goings on though;...

Bonfim church where the procession was due to end

Inside the church

There are thousands of these ribbons attached to the railings

They read 'Lambranca do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia'

Salvador, Brazil: Lavagem do Bonfim


January 2014

A Salvador Festival: Lavagem do Bonfim

This festival is the second largest in Salvador, after their annual carnival (which the locals claim to be the biggest party in the world, bigger than the Rio carnival, on the grounds that theirs occupies more space at any one time, albeit that it attracts fewer people). Anyway, the Bonfim festival is HUGE, with many tens of thousands taking part.

It starts with a ceremony at Igreja Nossa Senhora da Conceicao (The Church of Our Lady of Conception), a church in the lower town of Salvador, before the procession err processes 6.5 km to Igreja Nossa Senhor do Bonfim. Here the baianas (women in ritual dress, Bahian 'aunts') perform a ritual cleaning or lavagem of the church steps, overseen by Catholic priests and Candomble priestesses.

Bonfim is the most famous Catholic church in Salvador, renowned for its power to effect miracles. It is also the most important church in the Candomble religion (an African-originated religion). Salvador's population is more than 80% black, a legacy of the historic Portuguese slave trade with something like 5 million slaves brought to Brazil from Africa.

I confess I did not walk with the procession the whole way. I did complete the first 1.5 km but as each half a kilometre was taking an average of 45 minutes I decided to wimp out. I DID go to Bonfim a few days later, hence the photos.

Bonfim is also the source of the coloured ribbons or fitas that are everywhere in Salvador, as can be seen in the pictures.

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