Bonfim Festival

Bonfim Festival (Festa do Bonfim)

January; one week to 10 days ending the second Sunday after Epiphany, January 6
There is a church in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, known as Our Lord of the Happy Ending ( bonfim ). It was built by the captain of a ship that was wrecked off the coast of Bahia in 1875. The captain promised God that if his men survived, he would build a church in gratitude. Today during the Bonfim Festival, hundreds of Brazilian women dress in the traditional white dresses of colonial Bahia and form a procession to the church. The bahianas balance jars of water, scented with blossoms, on their heads. The washing of the steps at Bonfim Basilica on the second Thursday after Epiphany is the highlight of the festival.
Though Brazil is nominally a Roman Catholic country, many Brazilians adhere to various Afro-Brazilian cults. CandomblÉ is one such belief system popular in Bahia, and the Lord of the Happy Ending is Oxalá, a CandomblÉ deity.
CONTACTS:
Bahia Tourism Authority
Av. Simon Bolivar S/N
Centro de Convences da Bahia-1dg Pisa
Salvador, Bahia 41750-230 Brazil
55-71-3117-3000; fax: 55-71-3371-0110
www.bahiatursa.ba.gov.br
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Jan 23
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 32