SF Bay Brazilian Day & Lavagem
Sunday, September 3rd, 2023
Dance, Music, Art, Food & Culture
10am – 11am Demo Classes
11am – 7pm Festival
Two Stages showcasing the beautiful diversity of Brazilian Arts Culture
Beer Garden & Caipirinha Lounge
Artisan & Food Vendors
White attire suggested
Block Party on the corner of San Pablo Ave & Hearst St., Berkeley CA
What is a lavagem?
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.
In honor of the communities that created this tradition, BrasArte holds an homage to this festival in Berkeley every year. 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.
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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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