15.01.2007 - 15.01.2007 35 °C
Good thing I finally managed to upload my pictures of the Lavagem do Bonfim... I see Travellerspoint have picked this blog entry for their front page today!
Filhos and Fitas - The Filhos de Ghandy drummers on their way to the Lavagem de Bonfim, and someone selling the ubiquitous fitas - souvenirs of the Lavagem that bring good luck and grant three wishes each. There are more fitas in Salvador than bicycles in Amsterdam.
I'm back in Salvador once again. I arrived just in time for the Lavagem do Bonfim, last Thursday, the biggest religious festival in Salvador's crazy calendar of religious (both Candomblé* and Catholic) events. The Lavagem de Bonfim is the ritual washing of the steps of the church of Bonfim by members of Bahia's Candomblé houses, a tradition which has been continuous since 1754, when black slaves were forced to wash the white people's church. With time, it they turned it into a religious event honouring Oxalá, one of the most important Orixás (deities) in Candomblé. In Candomblé the Orixás became syncretized (mixed) with Catholic saints, and Oxalá is O Senhor do Bonfim, The Lord of the Good End, in other words, Jesus.
On the way to the church of Bonfim the crowd passes some fabulous graffiti!
So I am back in Salvador. My 7,200km long trip to Brazil left out various parts of this enormous country: the states of the extreme south, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, which I already know from previous trips to Brazil; the vast interior of Goiás and the Mato Grossos; the rainforests of Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia, Macapá and Pará, and the surprises Maranhão and Piauí would have had in store for me if I had not turned back to avoid the rainy season. But I already know, the soul of Brazil is here, in Salvador, and it could not be anywhere else, because this is where Brazil began.
No more rodoviárias (bus stations)! This concrete monstrosity is in Fortaleza.
All is well that ends well. This Thursday, I am flying back to Ireland. Time to say goodbye and to say thank you to all the readers of this blog. When I get back, I will probably post one more entry with travel tips and recommendations for those of you who would like to visit Brazil... I hope I inspired at least somebody!!!
*Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion.