By Brazil Nuts Operations Manager HOLLI FRANCHI
Boa Morte Festival– The Sisterhood of the Boa Morte (Good Death)
The Boa Morte (Good Death) festival takes place in Cachoeira every August and is deeply syncretised with the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Catholicism.
Reminiscent of secret female societies in Africa, the Sisterhood of the Boa Morte worship the iyá‘s, the female spirits of the dead. A “good death” ( or Boa Morte ) was seen as being a proper passage from the material to the spiritual world , no longer a slave.. It is perhaps the most important festival in the African Heritage calendar in Bahia and is a living document of African culture and Diaspora to the New World.
The Sisters, some of them of a very advanced age, all descendants of slaves, parade through the town with a statue of the Madonna which is symbolically buried to ascend into the heavens on the following day. Behind this Catholic aspect lies a hidden side in which the African ancestral spirits are worshipped. This solemn part of the festival is followed by a street festival where the Sisters dance the samba de roda, a spinning samba danced in beautifully colored flared skirts, creating a kaleidoscope effect as the Sisters swirl and spin to the music.
17.00 Ceremony begins at the premises of the Sisterhoood of the Boa Morte (Good Death) with a torchlit procession through the streets of Cachoeira as the Sisters, dressed in white, carry the prone figure of Nsa. Senhora da Boa Morte. The Sisters later offer a dinner in their premises. Passengers may or may not wish to partake in this meal but it is interesting to see.
18.00 Religious ceremony in the premises of the Sisterhood follwed by another street procession, this time the Sisters in solemn black clothes, once again carrying the prone figure of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte through the streets of Cachoeira.
10.00 Religious ceremony in the Mass followed by procession through the streets of the town with the upright figure of N.S. das Glórias (Assumption). The Sisters are dressed in their full gala clothes of black, white and red. This is the highlight of the celebrations. The Sisters later have their traditional Samba de Roda, a spinning samba only found in the Cachoeira region. This begins late afternoon and continues until early evening.
Dates are confirmed 03 months before the celebrations begin, when the Sisters consult with the orixás for their permission to proceed with the celebrations.
Check out our 6 Night Boa Morte Package