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2017 TOURS


Salvador, Bahia August 10 – 18, 2017

Known as the cultural cradle of Brazil, the state of Bahia is home of the most beautiful and majestic religious festivals in the country.

A Festa da Boa Morte - August 15th is an important date in the calendar of Afro-Brazilian festivals. This summer travel to Bahia and experience this popular event and much more through the distinctive perspective of Afro-Brazilian cultural historian Dr. Ken Dossar.

The Festival of Boa Morte


Established in 1823 by free African descended women in Bahia, the Irmandade da Boa Morte – the Boa Morte Sisterhood - is the oldest African-derived female benevolent society in the Americas. For more than 230 years they celebrated the Festival of the Good Death in the small colonial town of Cachoeira in the Recôncavo – in Bahia’s countryside. To ensure that community members would have a boa morte - a good death, the sisterhood as part of their benevolent community work contributed to funeral expenses of community members to improve the quality of burials. The festival annually renews the sisterhood’s promises made to the Virgin in return for her benevolence to their ancestors during enslavement.

In addition to  attending the Festival, you will explore the cultural history of Afro-Brazilians in Bahia. You will visit museums, and churches as part of a tour of the city. Additionally, you will experience live music and dance performances, a hands-on music workshop, and participate in lectures by traditional cultural specialists.

The Festa is organized by the Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte. For nearly 230 years, the organization has functioned as a church-sponsored beneficent society for Afro-Brazilian females. Historically, the organization purchased letters of freedom for its members, provided community aid, and especially provided community members a good and proper funeral. The Sisterhood of the Good Death is also one of the oldest and most respected worship groups for Candomblé, the major African-based religion in Brazil.

Today, the Festa da Boa Morte is  one of the most important contemporary manifestations of religious syncretism and Afro-Brazilian cultural resistance.

Festa da Boa Morte 2017

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