70 years of great stories, music and significance.
At the beginning, the carnival group was called “Comendo Coentro” (Eating Coriander), founded by port dockers in Salvador city. Concerned about the lack of work in the ports and the policy of wage tightening generated by the post-war crisis, Durval Marques da Silva, known as “Vavá Madeira”, had the idea of putting a group on the street. It was on February 18, 1949, that Vavá and his colleagues from stevedoring services as Hermes Agostinho dos Santos, “o Soldado”, Manoel José dos Santos, “Guarda-Sol”, Almir Passos Fialho, “o Mica”, and many others founded the group Filhos de Gandhy , parading for the first time, as a “cordão” (recreational association).
From 1951 on, the group began to admit other kinds of workers. Today, it has become the largest and said the most beautiful Afoxé of Salvador Carnival, in Bahia, receiving people from all over Brazil and the world. Composed exclusively by men, Gilberto Gil, Gerônimo, Xanddy Harmonia, Carlinhos Brown and Tonho Matéria are among its sons.
Afoxé Filhos de Gandhy, in the first years, used to sing marchinhas until they started dedicating themselves especially to Ijexá, (even composing their own songs). Afoxé is characterized as one of the many cultural developments of the traditional African religion terreiro-communities in Brazil. (terreiro = place where Candomblé rituals take place)
The name Filhos de Gandhy is inspired by the importance of the Hindu activist Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence and peace principles. The costume symbolizes the Indian clothes, being composed by a white sheet of 2.20m X 2.00m, with the Carnival theme painting in the front. The turban is made in the member’s head by an artisan using a towel, and to finish the brooch with a blue stone is applied. To complement the costume, there is a pair of sandals, socks and strip. The necklaces, in blue and white colors, are a reverence to the orixás Oxalá and Ogum. During carnival, this clothing confection involves a large chain of artisans, moving the local economy.
In the parade, some allegories are used which recall Mahatma Gandhi’s feeling: the elephant, symbol of his strength not to bow before the English power; the camel, symbol of resistance that kept him faithful to the ideals of freedom even when imprisoned; the goat, symbol of life, because with its milk de could regain strength and continue to defend the Indian people’s freedom.
Because its main purpose is to spread PEACE during Momo’s celebrations, the entity carries out confidential fundamental obligations before Carnival, never allowing them to be exposed to the public, since candomblé religion deserves respect and consideration.
The obligations practiced (padê) today by its components were the same ones that its creators practiced in the first years of its foundation. The padê marks the beginning of the carnival, before Sunday and Tuesday’s parades. Most of the founders used to practice the religion in the many candomblé terreiros in Bahia, but the group is open to people of any religion.
Filhos de Gandhy, in Salvador streets, worship one of the nations which is Ijexá, filling the avenue with this nation’s peculiar rhythm, offering to people apples, pears, grapes, foods that represent the body’s and aura’s cleansing, perfuming the streets with its lavender, transforming the avenue into a huge white carpet symbolizing the PEACE flag.
70 years & beyond Carnival
There are plans to celebrate the group’s 70th anniversary as a documentary movie, a large party in Largo do Pelourinho with local artist shows and a Music Festival, with the aim of renovating the group’s repertoire and opening this space to the general public. Besides that, Gilsoney de Oliveira, current President of Filhos de Gandhy, has already promised a surprise for the parade on the avenue:
“In 2018 we brought the Parintins staff. We made a dove that surprised members and even the board itself, who got to know it only at the parade time”, he says.
Besides carnival, Filhos de Gandhy have a religious calendar, participating in parties such as Lavagem do Bonfim, Iemanjá Festival, São Nicodemos, Santa Luzia, Xangô Festival, Oxum, São Lázaro and Omolu, Santa Bárbara and Iansã, São Cosme and Damião Festivals. Filhos de Gandhy Cultural, Recreational and Carnival Association also acts as a social agent with two projects: the agreement with Emoba “Donate blood for life” – in which the members participate in the “Blue November” with blood and platelets donation; and social work “Solidarity Soup” – the soup is prepared at the headquarters and distributed free of charge every Tuesday from 6pm on.
Afoxé Filhos de Gandhy
Parade: Sunday and Tuesday, in the Batatinha Circuit (in the counter flow, leaving the Municipal Square, in front of Elevador Lacerda, up Carlos Gomes Avenue, around Campo Grande and down Sete de Setembro Avenue. On Monday at Barra-Ondina Circuit.
Time: concentration at the headquarters in Pelourinho at 3:00 p.m. Padê is at 3:30 p.m. The trio elétrico starts in both circuits at 4:00 p.m.
Duration: from 8 to 12 hours.
Annual value: R$ 600.00 (in bank ticket or in credit card in 12 installments).
The value gives the right to enjoy 3 days of parades during carnival and having all the clothing.
Sales: at headquarters – Filhos de Gandhy Cultural, Recreational and Carnival Association (Associação Cultural, Recreativa e Carnavalesca Filhos de Gandhy), Pelourinho and at Central do Carnaval.
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Afoxé Filhos de Gandhy. Campo Grande. Salvador Bahia. Carnaval de 2017. Foto: Fábio Marconi.