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Special Postal Issue | Festival of Good Lord Jesus of Bonfim

About the Stamps

This issue consists of two postage stamps. The first one shows two children with their backs turned, running towards their community, with the Lord of Bonfim Basilica in the background. Its silhouette is highlighted by the colorful ribbons that are one of the best known and most popular elements of this festivity. The second postage stamp shows an illustration of Jesus Christ crucified, in the style of the original image of the Lord of Bonfim that is found inside the Sanctuary. The drawing is in perspective of who is looking from below. The blue color adorns the entire postage stamp, as well as the colored ribbons at its base. Mixed techniques of manual and digital illustration were used.

Festival of Good Lord Jesus of Bonfim

The festival is the most important thing in life.

It summarizes all human pursuits and symbolizes the victory over the hardships and difficulties of everyday life.

Summarizes sensitivities, trajectories, experiences and visions of faith. The festival means to live in freedom.

(IRARRÁZAVAL, Diego. The party in life. Petrópolis: Vozes, 2002. p. 59-73.)

The Festival of Lord Good Jesus of Bonfim (Good Ends) in Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia, is a traditional celebration of the Catholic Church that happens since the 18th Century. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages, in the Iberian Peninsula and in the devotion to Lord Good Jesus or Christ Crucified. It makes part of the liturgical calendar and the cycle of Festivals of Largo of Salvador and has been held annually, without interruption, since 1745. The Festival of Lord Good Jesus of Bonfim – registered in the Book of Registration of Celebrations of IPHAN, in 2013 – articulates into two different religious, Catholic and Afro-Brazilian, and incorporates different expressions of Salvadoran culture and social life. It is deeply rooted in the daily lives of the inhabitants of Salvador, and has great social mobilization power. Devotion to the Crucified Christ, or Lord of Bonfim (Bom-Fim, in the original spelling), was popularized by its association with the dying, desirous of a “good end”, or a “good fate”. It is a devotion that dates back to the end of the medieval period, and found in Portugal a good reception during the period of navigations, due to the uncertainties about the fate of navigators during the crossings. The cult of Lord of Bonfim in Salvador began with the arrival of Portuguese Captain Theodósio Rodrigues de Faria (or Theodósio Ruiz de Faria), in 1740, who brought from Lisbon an image, similar to the one venerated in Setúbal, his hometown, which it was kept in the Church of Penha, in Cidade Baixa. Together with other Portuguese, he founded a brotherhood, called Devotion of Our Lord of Bonfim, in 1745. The following year, the construction of the church began, which was completed in 1754, when the image was definitively placed on its main altar, together with the image of Our Lady of Guia. It is worth noting here that the brotherhood of Lord of Bonfim is responsible for the worship of Lord of Bonfim even before the construction of the church, and played a fundamental role throughout these years in the propagation of this cult. The place where the Bonfim Church is located also has unique characteristics. The reason for choosing it is due to the beauty of the place and its topographical disposition, a hill, or Alto de Monte Serrat. After the construction of the Church, the hill was renamed Alto do Bonfim, Colina do Bonfim (Hill of Bonfim) or Colina Sagrada (Holly Hill). The first pilgrims’ houses began to be built soon after the church began to be raised, which underwent several renovations until its current form, completed with the placement of Portuguese tiles on the façade, in 1873. Inside it, stand out the artworks of the Bahian painter, Antônio Joaquim Franco Velasco, made in 1818. Every year during the month of January, the celebration brings together rites and religious representations, in addition to profane manifestations and cultural content. It starts one day after the Epiphany, or the day of the Holy Kings, which concludes the Christmas cycle, and ends on the second Sunday after the Epiphany – the Day of the Lord of Bonfim. It is divided into different defining moments of its constitution: the novenas, the procession, the washing of the steps and courtyard of the Church of Our Lord of Bonfim, the Ternos de Reis and the Open-air Mass. The novenas begin the day after the Epiphany and end on Saturday, the eve of the Day of the Lord of Bonfim, being a liturgical element present during a long period of the Festival. The procession is an eight kilometer route that takes place at the Church of Our Lady of Conceição da Praia, in the Cidade Baixa, and culminates with the Cleaning of the Church’s steps and courtyard, which takes place on the Thursday before the Sunday of Lord of Bonfim. The Washing is carried out by Bahian women and filhas de santos as a family and religious mission. Carrying their quartinhas (a kind of pottery) with flowers and scented water, they revere the orixá Oxalá (a deity) and bless the devotees. The procession and the Washing are the highlights of the festival. After the closing of the last novena, on Saturday night, in front of the Church of Bonfim, the presentation of the Ternos de Reis takes place. On the day of the Lord of Bonfim, in the morning of the second Sunday after the Epiphany, a Solemn Mass is held in the church of Bonfim, representing the culmination of the liturgical events and the closing of the religious part of this celebration. There is also the Três Pedidos Procession, ending the festive events, with the presence of the pilgrim image of Lord of Bonfim. The latter was incorporated, in 2009, into the ritualistic set of the Festival and takes place on the closing Sunday. And so the festival goes on, with greater or lesser symbolism, with greater or lesser reference to its origins. Goes on, with all its ailments and contradictions, even today assuming the role of the biggest popular festival of the Bahia state summer cycle, just after Carnival. Francisco José Pitanga Bastos Judge of Devotion - Lord of Bonfim Brotherhood

Technical Details

Stamp issue N. 1

Art: Ateliê 15

Print system: offset

Paper: gummed chalky paper

Sheet with 16 stamps

Facial value: 1st class rate for domestic mail

Issue: 160,000 stamps (80,000 of each)

Design area: 25 x 35mm

Stamp dimensions: 30 x 40mm

Perforation: 12 x 11.5

Date of issue: January 14th, 2022

Place of issue: Salvador/BA

Printing: Brazilian Mint

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