AP PHOTOS: Brazil slave descendants revive rites after COVID

Aug 19, 2022, 8:42 AM | Updated: 9:27 am
Adonildes da Cunha, right, Emperor, and Nilda dos Santos, left, Queen, arrive for a celebration aft...

Adonildes da Cunha, right, Emperor, and Nilda dos Santos, left, Queen, arrive for a celebration after a Mass in the chapel of the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

CAVALCANTE, Brazil (AP) — For three long years, Vandeli Matos was an emperor in waiting. The symbolic coronation of the 33-year-old finally occurred this week when the Kalunga quilombo — as Brazilian communities descended from runaway slaves are known — gathered for the first time since the pandemic began.

It was part of a festival that Kalunga’s 39 far-flung communities hold every August — or had held until the pandemic prevented the annual week of roaring festivities celebrating Our Lady of the Abbey.

Thousands of pilgrims from all corners of the vast Kalunga territory flocked to the municipality Cavalcante, some 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of the capital, Brasilia, for this year’s coronations and other rituals.

Families set up in small wattle and daub houses, inhabited only during the festival. The structures, decorated with balloons, paper flowers and brightly colored fabrics, form a half-moon around the town’s chapel, where religious ceremonies take place.

“We tried to maintain the tradition the way it was,” said Irene Francisca, 55, who is better known as Tuta das Flores, one of the women overseeing this year’s decorations. “When we were born, this party already existed. This way of decorating with flowers was passed on to us by our mothers and grandmothers.”

Kalunga is Brazil’s largest quilombo, spreading across 1,000 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) in the Valley of Souls (Vao de Almas, in Portuguese). Its history began more than two centuries ago, when slaves fled the region’s mills and mining pits and settled in the hard-to-access valleys. Their descendants have occupied the area ever since, with a population now estimated around 10,000 people.

Houses in Kalunga territory are distant from one another, and connected by chewed-up dirt roads only four-wheel-drive vehicles can manage. Each year, Our Lady of the Abbey is the occasion for Kalungas to convene and mingle.

It’s a Catholic celebration of the Virgin Mary, but African slaves — forcibly brought to Brazil and prohibited from worshipping their own deities — embraced the ceremony while integrating some of their own traditions and beliefs from the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.

In Cavalcante, families take advantage of the rare presence of a priest to marry couples and baptize children, who dress in white. A lit candle symbolizes their encounter with Jesus Christ and entrance into the Catholic community. After the baptisms, musicians accompany the families to their homes.

The festival’s climax comes with the coronations of the Divine Holy Spirit and of Our Lady of the Abbey, represented by two emperors and a queen, picked randomly each year. On Monday, it was the turn of Matos, Adonildes da Cunha and Nilda dos Santos. They led their community along the pilgrimage’s final stretch to the chapel.

___

Associated Press writer Diane Jeantet contributed to this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Eugenio Pereira, 81, smokes his straw cigarette at the Kalunga quilombo, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. The Kalunga quilombo villager´s ancestors settled there as runaway slaves more than 200 years ago. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Members of the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, prepare the decoration of the masts, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.  Devotees celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Members of the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, bathe in Rio Branco, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A boy dressed up as an angel in the Emperor's procession poses for a photo in the Kalunga quilombo during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Members of the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, arrive in the early evening to participate at the end of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration of "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" in the rural area of Cavalcante, Goias state, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Followers of the community's patron saint, Our Lady of Abadia, celebrate at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Adonildes da Cunha receives his Emperor's crown in the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A girl looks on during her baptism in the chapel of the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A family with their baptized young daughter family poses for photos during the post-baptism party at their home in the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A member of Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, attends the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.  Devotees celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Vandeli Matos is crowned as Emperor of the Holy Spirit during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Adonildes da Cunha, right, Emperor, and Nilda dos Santos, left, Queen, arrive for a celebration after Mass in the chapel of the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A member of the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, take part in the candlelight procession during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Neco Santana performs with the sword of the Holy Spirit Emperor during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Vandeli Matos, wearing his crown as Emperor of the Holy Spirit, walks with his court during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Nilda dos Santos receives her Queen's crown in the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A member of the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, is framed between racks of beef offered for sale during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.  Devotees celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Children carry water from the Rio Branco at dawn at the Kalunga quilombo, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. The Kalunga quilombo villager´s ancestors settled there as runaway slaves more than 200 years ago. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Members of the Kalunga quilombo, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, dance during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A towel emblazoned with an image of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is running for reelection, is draped over a tent during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.  Devotees celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A boy, member of the Kalunga quilombo, a descendant of runaway slaves, prepares the decoration for the coronation of the Emperor of the Holy Spirit, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A girl, member of the Kalunga quilombo, descendants of runaway slaves, attends the coronation of the Emperor of the Holy Spirit, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A family accompanied by musicians walks in procession after a baptism in the chapel of the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A member of the Kalunga quilombo, the descendants of runaway slaves, prepares to attend a candlelight procession during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Devotees celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Adao das Contendas performs with the flag of the Divine Holy Spirit during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. Devotees celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Adonildes da Cunha, right, Emperor, and Nilda dos Santos, left, Queen, arrive for a celebration after a Mass in the chapel of the Kalunga quilombo, during the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage and celebration for the patron saint "Nossa Senhora da Abadia" or Our Lady of Abadia, in the rural area of Cavalcante in Goias state, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Devotees, who are the descendants of runaway slaves, celebrate Our Lady of Abadia at this time of the year with weddings, baptisms and by crowning distinguished community members, as they maintain cultural practices originating from Africa that mix with Catholic traditions. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

AP

FILE - Then Economic revitalization minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura speaks during a press conference ...
Associated Press

Japan, Belgium to cooperate in chip production, development

TOKYO (AP) — A newly founded Japanese semiconductor company aiming to revive Japan’s chip industry will collaborate with a Belgian research organization in research and development of next-generation chips for production in Japan. Economy and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters Tuesday that the new company, Rapidus, which was launched last month by eight corporate […]
5 hours ago
A protester waves a Mongolian national flag as protesters gather on the steps of the State Palace i...
Associated Press

Mongolians protest alleged theft of coal sold to China

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) — Protesters angered by allegations of corruption linked to Mongolia’s coal trade with China tried to force their way into the State Palace in the capital, demanding dismissals of officials involved in the scandal. The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar issued an alert Monday saying that several hundred protesters had gathered in the […]
5 hours ago
FILE --A man stands at the entrance of a hospital in Frankfurt, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Mi...
Associated Press

Panel proposes major overhaul of German hospital financing

BERLIN (AP) — An expert panel unveiled a proposal Tuesday for a major overhaul of Germany’s system for funding hospitals that it says would promote quality over quantity, ending what some described as a “hamster wheel” system where clinics tried to perform as many procedures as possible. The government-appointed panel of independent experts suggested putting […]
5 hours ago
Alexandra, 11, draws at a school building, a "Point of Invincibility," a government-built help stat...
Associated Press

Russian airfield hit, day after drone strikes on bases

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A fire that broke out at an airport in Russia’s southern Kursk region that borders Ukraine was the result of a drone attack, the regional governor said Tuesday, a day after Moscow blamed Kyiv for drone strikes on two air bases deep inside Russia and launched a new wave of missile […]
5 hours ago
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the South Lawn of the White House in Washingt...
Associated Press

White House invites in state lawmakers before 2023 sessions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is playing host to roughly 50 Democratic state lawmakers from 31 states this week as legislatures prepare for their upcoming sessions, aiming to talk over strategy on top issues like climate change, gun violence, abortion rights and voting rights. Those expected to attend the meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks to supporters as he attends a campaign rally on Monday, ...
Associated Press

Youngkin’s early shine faces test as he eyes White House bid

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Glenn Youngkin swept into office as a Republican sensation with a fresh formula for victory as the GOP contemplated its future beyond Donald Trump. But one year after Youngkin became the first Republican in more than a decade to win the Virginia governorship, some in his party believe the shine of […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
AP PHOTOS: Brazil slave descendants revive rites after COVID