Igreja NS do Bonfim

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

This famous 18th-century church, located a few kilometers north of Comércio on the Itapagipe Peninsula, is the source of the fitas (colored ribbons) you see everywhere in Salvador, a souvenir of the church and a symbol of Bahia itself. Bonfim's fame derives from its power to effect miraculous cures, making it a popular shrine.

In the Sala dos Milagres (Room of Miracles) on the right side of the church, devotees leave photos, letters and ex votos – wax replicas of body parts representing those that were cured or need curing.

Due to Candomblistas' syncretization of Jesus Christ (Nosso Senhor do Bonfim) with Oxalá, their highest deity, Bonfim is their most important church. Huge services are held here on Friday, Oxalá's favorite day of the week.

If you tie a fita around your wrist, you are making a commitment that lasts for months. With each of the three knots a wish is made, which will come true by the time the fita falls off. Cutting it off is inviting doom.