Every year, during the month of August, locals and visitors from all of the world crowd the streets of the historical city of Cachoeira to witness one of the most powerful symbols of African cultural resistance in Brazil: The celebration of the Festa da Boa Morte (the Good Death Festival).
The Festa da Boa Morte is organized by the Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte (The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death), a religious confraternity founded in the early 19th century as a Church-sponsored beneficent Sisterhood for female African slaves and former slaves. Respected and admired, the women of the Sisterhood of the Good Death become the center of the attention when parading in the streets of Cachoeira as real “queens”, with their impressive costumes, in a great demonstration of faith, devotion and tradition.
Although it started as a Catholic fellowship, the Sisterhood of the Good Death became one of the oldest and most respected worship groups for Candomblé, the major African-based religion in Brazil. Today, the Good Death Festival is one of the most important live examples of the strength of the African culture, blended with the Catholic traditions.