Yearly events in Salvador da Bahia


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January. On the second Thursday in January the rituals of "lavagem" (washing) is attended by huge crowds. Maes de santo (Candomble' priestesses) lead the festivities together with Catholic priests. The party atmosphere continues with the Filhos de Gandhi and trio eletricos. If you want to do the 10km walk to the church from Mercado Modelo, it's better to leave early with the maes, before the trio eletricos blast into action.

Festa of Segunda-Feira Gorda (Fat Monday), the Monday immediately following the Lavagem do Bonfim. The barracas (drink stands) around the Igreja do Bonfim pull up and move down the way to the neighborhood of Ribeira, where there is another huge party along the waterfront.

Lavagem of Santo Amaro is celebrated for over 200 years (originally by slaves) in the town of Santo Amaro, in the Recôncavo (73 km distant from Salvador). This festa is historically set on the first Sunday before the Festa de Nossa Senhora de Purificação, but has grown to encompass the week or so before that Sunday and several days after. Lots of samba de roda.

On January 25th - 28th is celebrated at and around the Igreja de São Lazaro in the neighborhood of Federação. São Lazaro is syncretized with Omolu -- the orixá governing sickness and health -- and during mass inside the church worshippers receive a banho de pipoca (popcorn bath).

Farol Folia party takes place on a to-be-announced date in January, from Boca do Rio to Patamares. It's basically a pre-enactment of Carnival, with Carnival blocos parading their trio elétricos. The event originally took place in Barra, close to the Farol da Barra (hence the name) but the residents of that area could only stand so much non-stop partying and the event was moved further up the coastline.

On January 27th takes place the "Lavagem de Itapoan" in Itapoan (or rather, it stretches along the seacoast from Piatã to Itapoan). This is the last lavagem before Carnival and it can be kind of rough.

Festival de Verao (summer festival) has become a very big concert held in Parque de Esposicoes near the airport. National and international bands, from pagode to electronic.
www.festivaldeverao.com.br

February. Carnival: the largest party of the year with millions of people partying for one week.

Yemanja Feast is one of the Candomble's most important festivals. A big maritime procession offers flowers and presents to Yemanja, the Mae and Rainha das Aguas (Mother and Queen of the Waters). It's celebrated on 2nd of February in Rio Vermelho and is accompanied by trios eletricos, afoxes.

March. In Porto Seguro there is a micareta (off season carnival ) called "Carnaporto". Soon after carnival many people still on holyday go to the nearby islands like Morro de Sao Paulo for the "ressaca" of carnival (backwash) turning them in party paradise. On the 8th of March in Mont Serrat there is a Candomble' feast: Presente de Yemanja' de Humaita'.

April. Micareta in Feira de Santana is getting more and more popular, trio eletricos for carnival style. Various religious manifestations like the Passion of Christ play in Dique do Tororo'.

May. 1st of May Labor day. Some large parties may be sponsored from the prefettura. Saint Francis Xavier Processions. Another religious events that ends up into party.

June. Festa de Santo Antonio on June 13th. Celebrated in the Largo de Santo Antônio, near Pelourinho. Santo Antonio is the patron saint of matrimony, his assistance sought by young women praying for husbands. This festa opens the June celebrations.

Festa Junina, 22th - 24th, for many people better then carnival. People are more relaxed to enjoy, everybody dresses like a hick and go in the street dancing. It is the countryside feast and forro' is the music. Many towns, like Amargosa, transform themselves in party land, houses are open to strangers and rivers of genipapo (local liqueur) are dropped until you can get it.

July. Independence Feast. On July the 2nd there is another reason to party. Mid-year school vacation month. Get away destinations packed. Check out raves and beach party.

August. Festa da Boa Morte Takes place in the town of Cachoeira, Bahia (110 km from Salvador, on the Paraguaçu river), on the 13th, 14th, and 15th.

Festa de São Roque. Celebrated on the 16th of August in the São Lázaro area of the neighborhood of Federação.

September. On the 27th, the festa of São Cosme e São Damião, a day when everybody eats carurú, a kind of vegetable stew made from quiabo (okra).

October. Children's day. NS do Rosario on the second half of October in Cachoeira.

November. On the 25th. participated in by dozens of Baianas traditionally dressed in white hooped lace dresses and colored beads representative of various orixás, Dia da Baiana opens with a mass at church Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (Church Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks) on the Largo do Pelourinho...and continues with a lunch of traditional Bahian food, samba de roda and other activities at the SENAC restaurant, also located on the largo. This festa is not traditional, having been started by state tourism agency Bahiatursa in the '80s.

December. December 4th. Santa Bárbara is syncretized with Iansã, wife of Xangô and goddess of the winds. It starts at church Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (7 a.m.), and later (11:00 a.m.) a procession proceeds through Pelourinho to the Corpo de Bombeiros (Fire Station) in the Baixo dos Sapateiros, where participants are greeted by the sounding of sirens (Santa Bárbara is the patron saint of firefighters) and a grand carurú to be served to the public. From there everything moves on to the Mercado de Santa Bárbara where the stallholders have prepared their own carurús to be served to the public (5 p.m.), and where it is very, very crowded. Red and white are the colors to be worn.

On New Year's Day a sea procession sees statues of the seafarers' protectors, Nosso Senhor dos Navegantes and Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, carried in a decorated boat across the bay from the old harbour to the church of Boa Viagem where thousands wait to greet the holy images.

New Year Evening in Salvador offers free concerts, fireworks and beaches full of people dancing and drinking.

Anyway, nowadays, NYE in Bahia means "UP"... a massive alternative music festival called Universo Parallelo, near Boipeba island, responsible to catch all the people'attention, see the history of psytrance culture in Brazil. www.universoparalello.org
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