Our Lady of the Good Death Festival

Our Lady of the Good Death Festival

Begins on the Friday nearest August 15
The state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil is largely populated by Afro-Brazilians, descendants of the estimated 3.5 million slaves brought to the country during the transatlantic slave trade. Among this segment is a well-known Afro-Catholic group called Irmandade da Boa Morte (Sisterhood of Good Death), founded in 1823 by freed female slaves living in the town of Cachoeira. A major celebration observed by the sisterhood is the Our Lady of the Good Death Festival, a unique version of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Intermixed with the feast's Catholic traditions are the sisterhood's expressions of CandomblÉ, a separate religion with origins in the Yoruban culture of West Africa.
Over three days, the several dozen women who constitute the sisterhood hold mass and processions dramatizing Mary's death. It is a time of mourning as well as celebration for Mary's ascension into heaven, upon which she becomes Nossa Senhora da Gloria (Our Lady of Glory).
One way the sisters depart from Catholic festival observance is by worshiping Orishás, which are Yoruban spirits that represent major forces of nature. There are also performances of the samba de roda (ring samba). These non-Catholic expressions of the festival and other CandomblÉ practices have attracted criticism from Brazilian church leaders.
CONTACTS:
Bahia Tourism Authority
Ave. Simon Bolivar S/N
Centro de Convenções da Bahia-1Piso
Salvador, Bahia CEP 41750-230 Brazil
www.bahia.com.br
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