Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte (Assumption Day or the Festival of Our Lady of the Good Death) falls on the Friday closest to August 15 and lasts three days. It is a celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus) that starts off with a solemn mass and then a procession in the streets of Cachoeira in Bahia. Organized by the Irmandade da Boa Morte (Sisterhood of the Good Death)—a secret religious society of elder Afro-Bahian women and the oldest of its kind in the New World—who praise the liberation of their enslaved ancestors with dance and prayer and a mix of themes from Candomblé and Catholicism. It is the second most important examples of religious syncretism in Bahia after Lavagem do Bonfim. For these women, their faith in the ascension of Mary into heaven never meant a denial of their faith in their Nagô ancestral traditions of the orixás and voduns. The orixá Nanã Buruku, a grandmotherly deity and orixá of wetlands, swamps, and marshes and mother to orixás Exu and Obaluaye, is honored and venerated. The festival is a mix of prayer, litanies, hymns, church masses, processions, capoeira and folk dances like maculelê and samba de roda, drumming, feasts, and sacred Candomblé obligation ceremonies until dawn.
Janet M. Chernela says
Are you organizing a group to go to Cachoeira this summer?
Alseta Gholston says
No, unfortunately we are not.