Sao Felix Baiano - Reconcavo


A variety of faiths

Brazil is considered the largest Catholic nation on earth; in surveys, almost 90 percent of the population are professed Catholics. In the Recôncavo, matters will be no different, yet this only touches the surface of the variety of faiths in the region.

Besides Salvador, the Recôncavo is one of the most important centers of the Candomblé, a religion that originated in West Africa. Cachoeira, São Félix and Santo Amaro in particular are home to several dozen Candomblé cult sites. Many people from the region who go to Mass in church on Sundays also visit the Candomblés. In accordance with Catholic beliefs, every town has its saint. When masses are read for them and processions are held, the gods of the Candomblé also have a certain role to play. The Recôncavo is undoubtedly the region of Brazil that is most steeped in the Candomblé faith.

There is also a belief in miracles that comes from the world of Catholicism. In the town of Candeias, for example, there is the legend of a blind woman who had a vision of the Virgin Mary in a chapel built in 1640. The woman was told to wash her eyes with the water of a nearby stream – after which she regained her eyesight.

Legends such as these are omnipresent in the Recôncavo; people believe in miracles. They also talk of Christian miracles in São Félix and other towns in the region; processions are organized in their honor to this day.

The fundamentalist Protestant Pentecostal churches have only been present in the Recôncavo for a few years, but have grown phenomenally. Besides many small congregations, the sects, originally from the United States, have established a central educational institution that also offers, among other things, entirely secular agricultural courses.