Salvador Popular Festivals

The popular festivals trace their origins back to the tradition of communities of paying tribute to their patron saints, expressing their gratitude for blessings obtained. During the event the requests for peace, good health and wealth are renewed.

The centuried custom was inherited by the Portuguese and has been changed through the years. Originally the festival presented just people praying and chanting to their patron saints, but with time, stands selling drinks and food appeared, giving to the festival an entertainment characteristic. The songs are no longer strictly religious ones. On the streets can be heard the the typical capoeira and samba beats along with other rhythms.

These changes transported the festivals beyond the communities and churches’ largos into the streets. Nowadays they are registered by the curious eyes of tourists and by TV cameras from all over the world. They come to Salvador to appreciate these moments, which express so well the icons of the Salvador’s local culture such as Candomblé, Catholicism, gastronomy, dancing and music.

The festivals take place all through the year, without ever losing their enthusiasm. These guarantees a good time from January until December, for both the faithful and those who come only to visit. Salvador provides a million reasons for a good celebration and some of the best-known popular festivals are Bom Jesus dos Navegantes, Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, the Yemanjá festivity and Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

Salvador is a land of all saints and the people celebrate accordingly. It shines with a magical glow that invites every person from every corner of the earth to find out why Salvador has been named the Land of Hapiness.

The Most Importants Festivals in Salvador are:

Popular Festivals

One of Salvador's most fascinating aspects is the great number of intensely celebrated religious and devotional festivals held throughout the year.

The mixture of Catholicism with ancestral practices of Candomblé and indigenous beliefs makes this city a Mecca of Brazilian religious beliefs. Expressons of faith are not confined to the hallowed halls of cathedrals and Candomblé temples - they spill over into the houses, streets, squares and the vast blue sea. An full calendar of celebrations which have been held for over 300 years take place the year round, occurring with more frequency during the summer months. Catholic festivities replete with commemorative masses and processions take place alongside corteges of mothers-of-saints honoring their orixás. Families gather together to recite the novenas for Saint Anthony or prepare the special caruru feast for either the Candomblé erês or Saints Cosme and Damião.

Processions over land or sea may honor, depending on your belief, either Nosso Senhor do Bonfim or Oxalá, or the patron saint of seafarers or Iemanjá. The number and intensity of festivals increases until Carnival, which culminates the cycle of popular festivals.

The religious festivals are interlaced with profane celebrations - proof being Carnival, whose date is determined by the Lenten period, which in turn is set by the cycle of the moon.

The Most Important Festivals of Salvador

Bloco da Parceria

The ‘Partnership Block’ is an initiative of the supermarket ‘Bompreço’. Created in 1992, in Recife the Block is growing to huge dimensions. In Salvador the route comprehends the stretch that goes from ‘Bahia Marina’ to ‘Trapiche Barnabé’. The celebration takes place in the afternoon and goes into the night.


This is the greatest source of joy for the people of Bahia. Only the party’s organization involves the direct participation of 25 thousand people. Its dimensions are gigantic.
More about Salvador's Carnaval

Daniela Mercury e Convidados

Singer Daniela Mercury’s show will toast the year’s first sunset in Salvador on the stage installed in ‘Farol da Barra’, with renown Brazilian Popular Music guest stars appearances. The intimate show, which opens at 6 P.M. and goes through 9 P.M., is open to the public.

Dia da Baiana

This celebration praises the ‘baiana’ of acarajé (typical Bahia food made with crushed beans and dry shrimp) – the symbol of hospitality and congeniality of the people in Bahia – it happens with catholic mass at the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, in Pelourinho, besides cultural manifestations in other spots of the Historic District and a calendar of commemorations that officially open the cycle of most relevant holidays in Salvador.

Dia das Crianças

This is the national holiday of Our Lady Aparecida, Brazil’s Patron Saint, and it is celebrated on October 12th, which is also Children’s day. Throughout the whole city, the main parks and malls prepare special events to commemorate the date. The core spot of the feast happens traditionally in the City Park where many activities and shows take place for children’s enjoyment.

Dia do Samba

Created by Salvador Municipal Chamber in the 40’s to praise composer Ary Barroso, the holiday commemorates the musical rhythm born in Bahia with presentations by singers and instrumentalists in the Historic District.

Farol Folia

In 1998, the Salvador Carnival had a great “preview”, which eventually joined the calendar of Annual Carnival Celebrations. This was the ‘Farol Folia,’ gathering at first, in the Dodô/Barra-Ondina Circuit, with thousands of people parading disguised as 'popcorn'.

Festa da Boa Viagem e do Bom Jesus dos Navegantes
Boa Viagem e Bom Jesus dos Navegantes Feast

A tradition that remounts to mid 18th century, this fête is one of Salvador’s most beautiful popular manifestations. It takes place on New Year’s Eve, when people go on with New Year’s celebrations at Boa Viagem Beach.

Festa da Independência da Bahia

Civic celebration that praises the incoming of the Brazilian liberating forces in Salvador, in 1823. Even after the proclamation of the Independence of Brazil, Bahia continued to be occupied by the Portuguese forces of the Brigadier Madeira de Mello. On July 2nd of the same year, the national army entered the town through ‘Estrada das Boiadas’, now Liberdade (Freedom). The date then was celebrated with intense popular participation as the Bahia Independence Day.

Its commemoration includes cultural events and representations of historic facts, allegory floats and groups representing the community.

Festa da Lapinha ou de Reis

This Catholic-origin tradition symbolizes the visit of the Three Wisemen to Baby Jesus. At midnight on January 5th in Salvador, the ‘ternos’ (trios), ‘ranchos’ (singing and dancing groups) and shepherds stroll through the streets of the Historical District with their shining robes embroidered with glass beads, and follow the Three Wisemen to the stable set up by the faithful from the ‘Igreja da Lapinha’ by the lake with the same name. Upon arrival, they act on stage during the festivities while music plays in the tents where typical food and beverages are served.