RMC Travel & Shirley Joyner Present…
Sisterhood of the Good Death
August 9-17, 2009
Boa Morte Celebration
Irmandade da Boa Morte
In Bahia, Africa abounds! Salvador is the "most" African of all of the Brazilian cities. Ninety percent 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.
Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte Celebration 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 Celebration 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 Celebration (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 Celebration in the African Heritage calendar in Bahia and is a living tribute of African culture and Diaspora to the New World.
Good Death's Sister Festival
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.
Your Hotels (or similar)
In Salvador Bahia: Bahia Othon Palace Hotel
The Bahia Othon Palace Hotel is located at Ondina Beach. Just walking into the hotel, you will start to feel the magic of Salvador. Hospitality at the Bahia Othon Palace is something that's felt in tiny details. All of the accommodations offer a sea view and are equipped with an answering machine, remote control color television with international channels, safe, mini-bar, air conditioning, and 24-hour room service. The hotel also features a large swimming pool with a Deck Bar, a Sauna and Massage services.
In Cachoeira: Pousada do Convento
The 18th-century convent is attached to the Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo and has been converted into a comfortable Pousada, with no loss of atmosphere. Rooms are spacious, with tall ceilings and heavy wood floors. A restaurant serves traditional Bahian fare.
•Round-trip air from New York to Salvador
•Round-trip transfers between airport and hotels
•Accommodations in first class hotels and Pousadas
•Airline & hotel taxes.
•Service charges at the hotel
•Additional lunches and dinners as per itinerary
•Sightseeing tour as per itinerary including entrance fees
•Local guides for sightseeing
•Portage at hotels and airports
•4 day/3 night Sisterhood of the Boa Morte Celebration program
•Candomblé & Yorubá language study and presentation
•“Welcome to Bahia” dinner & show featuring the sacred dances of the Candomblé
•The São Lazaro Celebration farewell dinner
•Paraguacu River Cruise
(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Day 1, Sunday, August 9: Depart for San Salvador:
Depart this evening via your connecting flights for Bahia.
Day 2, Monday, August 10: Arrive San Salvador: (D)
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel where you have the balance of the day to relax after a long journey before your “Welcome to Bahia by Night” that includes a dinner and show by Balé Folclórico da Bahia The Bahia Folklore Company (Balé Folclórico da Bahia) is one of the most respected folklore dance troupes in the world. The company performs in the intimate Miguel Santana Theatre in the Pelourinho, in a seamless presentation of the multiple African traditions that underpins Bahian culture. You will see the sacred dances of the Candomblé; puxada de rede, a song by fishermen in honor of Yemanjá, the goddess of the sea; maculelê, an acrobatic stick and sword dance with its origins in the cane fields; capoeira, a martial art/dance of Angolan origin and the samba de roda, a spinning, swirling version of this exuberant national dance. After the show dinner will be served at one of the many fine restaurants in the area.
Day 3, Tuesday, August 11: In San Salvador (B/D)
After breakfast, you have an African Heritage tour of the Upper City - tracing the African roots of Salvador on a city tour which combines the newer, Modern section and the older Historical Center of Salvador, the Pelourinho area, so called after the pillory which stood in the main square, in front of the central slave market. Visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum, which traces the West African origins of the city, and see the superb wooden sculpted panels of the Orixás by Salvador's most celebrated artist, Carybé. Visit the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the famous Black Church, built with meager resources over a period of almost 100 years. The Casa do Benin (Benin House) nearby further investigates this permeating African influence. Balance of the day at leisure. Dinner at your hotel.
Day 4, Wednesday, August 12: In San Salvador (B)
Today’s exciting morning tour is to Candomblé. Visit a traditional Candomblé house of worship, established at the turn of the century, a long way from the then center of the city. The expansion of the city has meant that the temple’s grounds have been surrounded by the burgeoning metropolis but the temple maintains the traditional religious and social values of African daily life. Your visit will focus on the religious and social traditions of the temple. You visit the primary school whose curriculum includes Yorubá language studies, the study of the spiritual and medicinal properties of sacred plants, as well as normal academic studies. The afternoon and evening are free for independent activities or shopping, and a chance to try the many wonderful local restaurants.
Day 5, Thursday, August 13: To Cachoeira for Boa Morte (B/D)
After breakfast, you depart for Cachoeira. After checking into your hotel, you start with the late afternoon ceremony that begins at the premises of the Sisterhoood of the Boa Morte (Good Death) with a torch-lit procession through the streets of Cachoeira as the Sisters, dressed in white, carry the prone figure of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte. Dinner this evening at a local restaurant.
Day 6, Friday, August 14: In Paraguacu River Cruise & Sisterhood Procession (B/L/D)
After breakfast you will take a unique sightseeing cruise as you board your boat and slowly navigate the moving waters of the majestic Paraguaçu River. This river forms the vital lifeline between the farming hinterland and the city of Salvador. Youur trip will take you through wonderful scenery seldom seen by Tourists, including diverting to one of the branches to visit the ruins of the 18th century Sao Francisco Convent. Return to your hotel to rest a bit before the evening festivities which include a religious ceremony on the premises of the Sisterhood with the Sisters in solemn black clothes carrying the prone figure of Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte through the streets of Cachoeira.
Day 7, Saturday, August 15: In Cachoeira (B/D)
After breakfast you attend a Religious ceremony in the chapel of the Sisterhood followed by procession through the streets of the town with the upright figure of Nossa Senhora 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 in the afternoon and continues until early evening.
Day 8, Sunday, August 16: To San Salvador: The São Lazaro Celebration (B/D)
Return to San Salvador. Time to relax before your special evening program, which is the Celebration São Lazaro. This takes place in the Sao Lazaro neighborhood of Salvador, and, where the Catholic Saint Roque is “synchronized” with the Orixá Omolú. A perfect ending to your special journey. Your farewell dinner will be at one of Salvador’s Local restaurants.
Day 9, Monday, August 17: Back to the USA (B)
Transfer to the airport and your connecting flights home
Note: Itinerary correct at time of printing and subject to change for circumstances beyond our control.