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Brazilian Folklore

The Baiana Woman

Here in Bahia, a state in the northeast of Brazil, people are friendly, receptive, smiling, and warm.

This carefree happiness is resplendant in the Baiana woman, with her white flowing robe and feminine movements, and in her sincere smile as she descends the to meet the blue sky, the white sand, and the green coconut groves.

Bahia is a vision of a paradise the year round, with its atmosphere of sunshine, sea and constant festivity.

Populated by a mixture of races and creeds, the majority of the citizens of Bahia continue to celebrate the myths and rites of their African ancestors.

These happy moments are accompanied by music and dancing and create a mood of happiness and joy for which Bahia is so well known.

Above is a reproduction of one of Galina's original watercolor paintings, depicting the charm of the "Baiana" woman in Brazil.

Lavagem do Bomfim

The watercolor above portrais a very popular religious festival in Bahia, Brazil. It's the yearly washing of the Bomfim Church.

The church of Nosso Senhor do Bomfim is the main place of worship in Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia. During the time when slaves were brought from Africa to work on the plantations in north-east Brazil, the women washed the steps of the church on the eve of this religious holiday, celebrated every year in January.

Today this ceremony has become a very popular and festive event, part of Brazil’s picturesque folklore, and attracts up to a million people with the participation of some 500 Brazilian women of African descent. The women are dressed in cerimonial garments and now enjoying their freedom from the bonds of slavery, carry white flowers on their heads in pots filled with perfumed water (called – agua de cheiro) to symbolically wash the temple steps, pretty much the same as their ancestors did in the past.

The procession is accompanied by music and dancing and in the end turns into a picturesque and animated carnaval scenario.

Above is Galina's interpretation of the celebration, a reproduction of her original watercolor painting.