This feature is designed to spark your interest in researching the world of capoeira's vocabulary, history, and philosophy.
Our Capoeira Wiki-Word series invites you to research the word of the week and post your definition(s) and translations. At the end of each week, the entries will be reviewed and then summarized into a translation and a definition of the Capoeira Wiki-Word of the week.
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This week's Capoeira Wiki-Word is:
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Another one of those simple on the surface translations.
Lavagem translates to English as "wash." It's true it could be a car "wash" or any other idea like that.
However, it also has another meaning in Afro-Brasilian culture. Below is one example, and a famous one at that.
The Festa do Bonfim (Feast of Bonfim) is one of the most important annual popular celebrations in Salvador, starting on the second Thursday after Three Kings Day (January 6). On this Thursday, the faithful gather in front of the Church of Conceição da Praia, in downtown Salvador (Baixa), including a large group of Bahia ladies (bahianas) in traditional white costume, with turbants and long, round skirts. After mass, the faithful take part on a procession that leaves the Church of Conceição da Praia and, after an 8-km course, reaches the hill of the Bonfim Church. Upon reaching the top, the bahianas wash the steps and the square (adro) in front of the church with aromatised water while dancing and singing chants in Yoruba language. The washing ritual is called the Lavagem do Bonfim (Washing of Bonfim) and attracts a multitude of believers as well as tourists.
The celebrations last ten days and end with a massive mass in the Bonfim Church. Many worshippers come from far away to honour vows taken with Our Lord of Bonfim. The church has a museum of ex-votos brought by the worshippers in gratitude after receiving a divine grace. The feast includes stands serving traditional food, souvenirs, traditional dances and concerts by local musical groups.
Even though the feast is Catholic in its origins, it also reveals much about the religious syncretism between Catholicism and African religions in Bahia. In the Candomblé religion, Our Lord of Bonfim is associated with Oxalá, father of the Orishas and creator of humankind. Indeed, people dress in white during the feast to honour Oxalá.