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Visual display of the Obaluaiye / Omolu Festival

Obaluaiye / Omolu Festival

  • January 2, 1995
  • The new year inspires ceremonies throughout Brazil. During Obaluaiye / Omolu, which is celebrated on the second day of January, the faithful call upon Catholic saints and African deities to protect them from illness. Saint Lazaro, patron saint of diseases, and Babaluaiye ( Babaluaye), African deity of smallpox, disease, and the earth, are central to these rituals. Celebrants offer bags of popcorn (which is visually reminiscent of the open sores caused by smallpox) as a means of spiritual cleansing. Here it has been strewn on a plaza and steps leading into the Church of St. Lazaro / Babaluaiye in Federação.