Salvador de Bahia is the largest city on the northeastern coast of Brazil. It is known as the “City of All Saints” and “Brazil’s capital of happiness.” It’s also home to the celebrated and unusual Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim (that’s “Church of our Lord of the Good End” in Portuguese.) The church is believed to be especially sacred, and every year thousands of pilgrims come here to pray.
The Church is the site of an important annual festival that incorporates both Catholic and Candomble traditions. The Festa do Bonfim happens every year in early January. People from all over Brazil gather at the Church of Conceição da Praia, then walk in a procession to the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim. Once there, a group of women in traditional white dresses and bonnets wash the steps of the church with fragrant, perfumed water. Although the church is Catholic, the white clothing is to honor the Candomble God Oxala, whom worshippers identify with Jesus.
The procession and ceremony is followed by ten days of feasting and celebration, culminating in a special Mass. It’s quite a spectacle, and definitely worth seeing if you aren’t particularly religious.
The church’s most unusual feature, though, is the Sala dos Milagres, or the “Room of Miracles.” Imagine a room with white wax body parts hanging from the ceiling: everything from hands and feet to internal organs, cast in ghostly white wax. It might sound like a scene from a horror movie or the perfect setting for a metal video, but as the name implies, it’s actually a place where people pray to be healed. The wax body parts represent the part of the person that requires healing. (h/t Bootsnall)
Before you can visit the church, you’ll need to get to Brazil, and that means getting a Brazil visa. The process can be somewhat complicated – see Brazilian Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.
However, RushMyTravelVisa can help. We’ll walk you through the visa application process, make sure you have all the documents you need, and submit your Brazil visa application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.
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