Jornal do Brasil Online
Bruno Agostini

Salvador’s summer embraces a world of celebrations

Salvador announced the onset of a series of catholic and African celebrations that will become another means to attract people to the city this summer. The marathon of faith related activities began with the celebration of Ours Lady of the Immaculate Conception last Sunday. The most concurred celebrations are the Procession of Our Lord of the Navigators, the washing of the steps of the Church of Bonfim, and the seaside offering and celebrations for Iemanjá.

Honoring the fishing tradition of the city, the ceremonies of Our Lord of the Navigators and Iemanjá are maritime processions that pay tribute to the entities that during the year are believed to bless the fishing trade by providing an abundance of fish and protection against the dangers of the sea.

Also known as Celebration of the Good Voyage, the Procession of Our Lord of the Navigators is the apex of the New Yera’s commemorations at the Boa Viagem Beach. In the morning of the first day, hundreds of boats follow the Galeota Gratitude do Povo – with the image of The Good Jesus of the Navigators – from the Command wharf of the second Naval District, in front of the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of the Beach. The procession finishes at Boa Viagem Beach, in front of the Church of Our Lady of Boa Viagem – after having paraded by the Barra lighthouse.

The Lapinha celebration takes place on Three Kings Day and initiates the countdown for the washing of the steps of the Church of Bonfim – the second thursday of the year, the 16th of January. The event will begin at midnight of the 5th of January when the Three Kings will parade through the streets of the Historical Center until the nativity scene that was mounted by the congregation of faithful from the Church of the Lapinha.

Some years the Diocese of Salvador forbade the presence of trios for the ritual commonly known as the “washing of the steps of the Church of Bonfim.” However the celebration will continue to have melody, directed by a procession of Bahianas, that will begin at the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of the Beach to the staircases of the Church of Our Lord of Bonfim. As they sing to Oxalá, syncretized with Our Lord of Bonfim, the Bahianas will wash the stairs and the church’s plaza with their brooms and perfumed water.

The Rio Vermelho fishing community awaits the 2nd of February with anxiety. But it seems that all Bahia is in line to leave their offerings in wicker baskets that in the late afternoon will be tossed into the sea during a procession made up of hundreds of boats. Later, the celebration continues until the multitude’s last breath, in the best Bahian style.

– All religions that work for the good of humanity and speaks of love and justice deserve support. The PT respects Brazilian culture and Candomblé is part of our country’s roots – it said.

The president of the Brazilian Federation of Umbanda and Candomblé, Pai Paiva, does not agree with this handling of the religion. For him, Umbanda does not have to be mixed with politics.

– This only cause conflict. I never saw any “work” to elect a nobody. The candidate who works more and presents the best proposal is the one who is elected – he argues.

In the Federal District, Candomblé has about 80 thousand adepts. The official federacy of the religion has 2,560 members. Paiva believes that the work of the umbandistas to favor Magela is pure opportunism.

– The 50 pais-de-santo that will be participate in this event do not represent the true body of the movement. I will be that they are not even members of the Federation.

According to Paiva, umbanda must contribute to the charity and not politics. He explains that the purpose of Candomblé is to propagate the good. (Larissa Guimarães Collaborated for this article)

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