A tradition of the city of Salvador, Iemanjá’s festival gathers believers to honor the Queen of Waters. The festival starts at 5:00am, with fireworks, when the fishermen and believers prepare the offerings. At 4:00pm, sharp, the main cortege starts when the boats leave to the sea taking the presents – perfumes, soaps, flowers…- for Iemanjá. The main present of the fishermen, who ask for calm waters and plenty of fish, goes on the fishing boat that leads the cortege. Immediately behind, vessels take the other present baskets adding a special color to the sea. The legend says that, if Iemanjá doesn’t accept the offerings the baskets flow, which is a bad sign.
The cortege takes over the streets of Rio Vermelho under the sound of drums and the presentation of local artists in the stages at the corners and houses of the neighborhood. Decorated stands sell regional and traditional dishes such as feijoada and mocotó and a variety of drinks.
Brought by the African slaves in the 16th century, the cult to Iemanjá was strengthened by the devotion of their descendants, who became fishermen in Bahia’s shore. Their wives followed them in their devotion and during storms they would run to the beach to ask Iemanjá not to take their husbands to the kingdom of waters.
Today, the saint – that in syncretism is represented by Our Lady of Conception – is worshiped by Salvador’s inhabitants.