Sao Roque! Two great celebrations!
Sixteen years ago, Edivalda Menezes Oliveira – today, Mother of Saint, Paulo do Brongo’s daughter – walked from Cosme de Faria to São Lázaro Church, with a small basket asking for her son’s cure [A1]. He suffered a serious accident and it took years of healing. The basket got bigger and, today, pays tribute with its board on São Lázaro Church’s stairs.
Next to them walks Dona Rosa, who arrives on crutches, assisted by her daughter Martha, holding an image covered by rosaries. Devoted woman, she climbs the stairs with difficulty, squeezes herself through the crowd and disappears entering the church until she reaches the altar. Omolu and São Roque. Bahia is indeed one of the greatest religious syncretism examples in this country. With ancestral mastery, it unites in a movement against intolerance, a lot of celebration and much joy.
Inside the Church, people pray each in their own way. Humberto, arrives with his Mãe de Santo Crispina, kneels down and places a giant basket of popcorn at the height of his head. He holds that up, smiling, while Crispina hands out the popcorn to the people present. Inside and outside the Church, the priest blesses the faithful members with holy water, and the crowd sings in tune. Catholic songs, with Ijexá rhythm.
São Roque, São Lázaro and Omolu devotees already know that every August 16 is the day to pay tribute to them. São Roque Feast is one of the traditions shared in the many regions of Engenho Velho da Federação and Federação. The Mass in honor of the Catholic saint, São Lázaro Church’s patron saint, is of Catholic origin, and candomblé’s participation is important, honoring Omolu by washing the steps of São Lázaro Church, with candles lit and popcorn showers. The schedule includes Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and, at 5:00 p.m., the Santíssimo Blessing, all celebrated in São Lázaro and São Roque Sanctuary.
On the same day, coming from the Historic Center, the Azoany Walk departs from Pelourinho towards the sanctuary, in São Lázaro, in Federação. It’s a little more than a 4 kilometers walk. Here in Bahia, those who have faith will walk! The walk is the mark of the secular union between Christianity and Candomblé through the elements incorporation between religions. It is the moment in which people linked to candomblé march in honor of Azoany (Omulú, Obaluaê) and share with the Catholicism followers who honor San Roque.
São Lázaro and São Roque Sanctuary
Date: August 16, São Roque and Omolu Feast. On January 28, São Lázaro Feast.
Ladeira de Xaponã, no number – Federação, Salvador – BA, 40210-630
Festa de São Roque e Omolu. Foto: Amanda Oliveira.