A good friend returned from Brazil and brought me a surprise that I would like to share with you. On their travels, they went to Salvador, the former capital city known for it’s Catholic Church of Senhor do Bonfim (the Lord of the Good End), one way that many Brazilians refer to Jesus. This Church is also known to have a ritualistic symbol of Faith called the Fitas, or Fitas do Senhor do Bon Fim. These are a time-treasured symbol of Faith that are given as a gift to a friend or loved one and tied on the left wrist with three knots. As each knot (not half-hitch) is tied, a wish is made. It is said that when the ribbon falls off, the wishes have been granted, and the ribbon must then be deposited into the sea. The legend of the Senhor do Bofim Fita Ribbon is centuries old.
Some Brazilians refer to this ritual as being dedicated to Oxala, King of the White Cloth in Candomble, an indigenous religion practiced in Brazil. This belief system came by way of the Africans brought over on slave ships to work in the sugar cane fields. Many still mixed these two faiths, and on the second Thursday in January, up to 1 million flock to the area to watch the practitioners of both faiths wash the steps of the Church of Senhor do Bonfim with rose-scented waters and brooms. The fitas ribbons, blessed at the Church, follow a 200 year old tradition in miracles being granted and prayers heard. The original fitas were crafted of silk ribbon with a small charm or religious medallion, and worn about the neck. The original fita was also known as “the measure of Bonfim” as the ribbon legnth was the same as the measurement from underarm to fingertip of the statue of Jesus in the Church in Salvador.
The colors of the ribbons are symbolic as well, with many in Candomble associating the different colors with the African Deities, called Orixas, such as blue being symbolic for Iemanja or Yemanja, Goddess of the Ocean and yellow for Oxum, Goddess of the sweet river water. Here is a list of the symbolic color associations for the fita ribbons:
White – To gain wisdom and knowledge; associated with Oxala
Blue – For peace and tranquility in the home; associated with Yemanja
Yellow – Success in business and love; associated with Oxum
Red – For courage and strength; associated with Xango
Green – For monetary gains; associated with Ogum
Purple – For spirituality; associated with Babalorixa
Pink – True friendship; associated with Obba
Orange – For energy and healing; associated with Oxossi
Black: – To remove obstacles in life; associated with Exu Elegbara
Most fitas, while not the silk ribbon of old, are well constructed and could last for up to and even over a year. You are to wear the ribbon day and night, through your daily life and even while bathing, until the ribbon disintegrates. Then take to the ocean and toss it in the water for wishes to be granted. I want to share these with you and there are limited colors of each color. Each can be obtained for $2.00 each (S & H included) by ordering below: