Sisterhood of the Good Death

Festa Irmandade da Boa Morte



Members of the sisterhood of the Festa da Boa Morte in their finery for the Festival of Good Death in Cachoiera

In Bahia, Africa abounds! Salvador is the "most" African of all of the Brazilian cities. 90% of the population of over two million people has African ancestry. The local cuisine, musical traditions, dance forms and Bahia's vibrant visual arts are all testaments to this permeating African influence.

Cachoeira Bahia Festivals
Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte falls on the Friday closest to 15 August and lasts three days. This is one of the most fascinating Candomblé festivals and it's worth a special trip to see it. Organized by the Irmandade da Boa Morte (Sisterhood of the Good Death)—a secret, black, religious society—the festival is celebrated by the descendants of slaves, who praise their liberation with dance and prayer and a mix of themes from Candomblé and Catholicism

Sisterhood of the Boa Morte (Good Death) is the oldest organization for women of African descent in the New World. The Boa Morte Sisterhood is a secret society of African-Brazilian women, all descendants of African slaves, who sponsor a procession each August that parades through the streets of the historical city of Cachoeira on the banks of the Paraguacu River. It is perhaps the most important festival in the African Heritage calendar in Bahia and is a living tribute of African culture and Diaspora to the New World.

A dignified member fo the Good Death Sisterhood marches during the organization's annual celebration in Cachoeira, Bahia, Brazil.

Irmandade de Boa Morte ( Sisterhood of the Good Death ) The history of the Irmandade da Boa Morte (Sisterhood of the Good Death), a religious confraternity devoted to the Assumption of the Virgin, is part of the history of mass importation of blacks from the African coast to the cane-growing Reconcavo region of Bahia. Iberian adventurers built beautiful towns in this area, one of them being Cachoeira, which was the second most important economic center in Bahia for three centuries. In a patriarchal society marked by racial and ethnic differences, the confraternity is made up exclusively of black women, which gives this Afro-Catholic manifestation - as some consider it - a significant role in the annals of African Diaspora history. Besides the gender and race of the confraternity's members, their status as former slaves and descendants of slaves is an important social characteristic without which it would be difficult to understand many aspects of the confraternity's religious commitments. The former slaves have demonstrated enormous adroitness in worshipping in the religion of those in power without letting go of their ancestral beliefs, as well as in the ways they defend the interests of their followers and represent them socially and politically

Try to see Candomblé in Cachoeira. This is one of the strongest and perhaps purest spiritual and religious centers for Candomblé. Long and mysterious Candomblé ceremonies are held in small homes and shacks up in the hills, usually on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm.
Visitors are not common here and the tourist office is sometimes reluctant to give out this sort of information, but if you show an interest in Candomblé, and respect for its traditions, you may inspire confidence.

We can arrange excursion group fares to Cachoeira