This ritual Lavagem do Bonfim Procession – 14th of January 2016 of the eighteenth century brings together more than half a million faithful and tourists in religious act.

With brooms and “água de cheiro”(perfumed water), Salvador Bahia since 1773 repeated the ritual of washing the steps of the Church of Nossa Senhor do Bonfim at the Lavagem do Bonfim procession on the second Thursday of the year.

The program starts early at 8 am with a ceremony in the Basilica of Our Lady of Conceicao da Praia. From 9 am, the faithfuls go to the Bonfim church, recognized as Intangible Heritage of Brazil by the Historical and Artistic Institute (IPHAN). There will be a solemn Mass and celebration until Sunday.

The faithfuls walk in a procession of about 8 Km, most of people repeating an ancient ritual: doing three laps around the Basilica and make three requests to the sound of conga and songs of African origin. More than half a million people, including believers and also tourists, should participate in religious acts.

The “lavagem do Bonfim ritual” began in the eighteenth century, when slaves were forced to wash the church as part of preparations for the feast of the Lord of Bonfim.

This is a pleasant event but pretty tiring. If you intend to participate, be prepared with water (you will find on your way anyway), good shoes, hat and sun screen. Long and light pants and shirts for those who are subject to sunburns. It will be hot and the humidity will be high.