Rich in culture, Bahia also has several religious events that account for the greatness of its people’s faith. All thirteen touristic zones of the state have a little to offer when it comes to religion.
In All Saints’ Bay, the city of Cachoeira is one of the great icons of the religious syncretism that is alive in each corner. In August, the Good Death Festival is the summit of this combination of Catholicism and Candomblé and enchants locals and visitors that go to the city to enjoy the corteges organized by the Afro-descend ladies that are members of the secular Good Death Sisterhood. The festival’s program, which also includes mourning moments, has masses, confessions, sentinels and presentations of samba and capoeira groups.
The rituals of repentance of Juazeiro’s Penitents, in São Francisco Valley, and the Fogaréu Cortege, carried out in Serrinha, in the touristic zone Pathways to the Sertão, are some of the religious manifestations prepared until the Holy Week, when Easter is celebrated.
Corpus Christi, carried out in Rio de Contas, in Chapada Diamantina, is another enchanting celebration. Traditionally, the avenues are decorated with natural carpets that illustrate the Catholic symbols. To make the carpets they use agriculture products, leaves, seeds and cereals.
One of the icons of Religious Tourism in the state is Bom Jesus da Lapa, known as “Bahia’s capital of faith”. The city, located 902 kilometers away from Salvador, receives pilgrims throughout the year, especially between June and January, when it receives 1.5 million of visitors, according to the city’s administration. One of the most important pilgrimages is Terra or Missões, which starts in July.
Bom Jesus pilgrimage – the biggest one of them – reunites thousands of people from July 20th. The novena starts on July 28th and has its summit on August 6th, when the patron saint is consecrated.
Another highlight of this segment is Salvador with more than 300 secular churches. People say that in the city there’s a different church for each day of the year. Bonfim, São Francisco, Conceição da Praia, Rosário dos Pretos and the Cathedral are some examples of the most visited Catholic temples.
Bonfim Church is known for the faith that Bahia’s people have in Our Lord of Bonfim. Inside the church, at the Miracle Room, believers leave photos and replicas of parts of the human body to thank the saint for the cure, after making vows and wishes.
At the church’s door, the famous bands of Our Lord of Bonfim are sold. Believers tie them to their wrists with three knots. For each knot, they make a wish. They believe that when the band is torn, the wishes will be granted.
San Francisco Church at Terreiro de Jesus, in the Historical Center, is considered one of the richest and most beautiful in the country. Several materials were used in its construction, from limestone to the gold used to cover the interior. The baroque facade is from 1723, as well as the Portuguese tile panels. Eighteen panels that tell the life of San Francisco are gathered in the sacristy.
There are several Candomblé terreiros as well as Spiritist Centers in Salvador.