SF Bay Brazilian Day & Lavagem Festival

The annual ‘Lavagem do Bonfim’ is one of the most important events in the Afro Brazilian cultural calendar. This ritual dates back to colonial Brazil when enslaved Africans were forced to clean the church in preparation for the celebration of Senhor Do Bonfim “Our Lord”. They adapted this process by performing their own cleansing rituals, secretly celebrating the waters of Oxala/Obatala (the oldest orixa, creator of earther and bringer of peace) hidden from their enslavers. This makes the Lavagem do Bonfim one of the biggest examples of religious syncretism as a resistance practice and tool for cultural survival under colonial rule.

Dressed in white, devotees of the Candomble religion lead an elaborate procession through the streets of Salvador to the Church of Bonfim where they partake in a ritual cleansing of the steps of the church. This is followed by an all-day celebration with traditional music and dance.

BrasArte has reproduced this festival in Berkeley. Every Labor Day weekend we close the street and hold our annual SF Bay Brazilian Day & Lavagem Festival. A procession takes place ending in a cleansing and renewal ceremony for our community center the Casa de Cultura. This is followed by a full program of music and dance with typical foods and arts and crafts.

Brazil Day and Lavagem 2023 to be announced.

Brazil Day & Lavagem 2022

Brazil Day Poster 2022

Thanks to Everyone for Sharing SF Bay Brazilian Day & Lavagem 2022 with Us!
We Made a Wonderful Celebration Together!


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1901 San Pablo Avenue (at Hearst Street)
Berkeley, California 94702.1611
Tel: 510.528.1958

BrasArte is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. Our mission is to preserve Brazilian culture through dance, music, culture, and connection.

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