The Epiphany of Porto-Novo

The Aguda community took an active role in introducing catholicism to the region that now spans the Republic of Togo and the Republic of Benin. In fact, the first non-catholic chapel to be erected on that coast was at São João Baptista fort in Ouidah, but thenceforth the returnees took the initiative. In 1835, Venossa de Jesus had the region’s first public chapel built in Ague, and around ten years later Joaquim d’Almeida completed his chapel dedicated to the Lord Good Jesus of the Redemption (Senhor Bom Jesus da Redempção). The returnees were also instrumental in the establishment of the Catholic Mission of Lyon on the coast.

The Agudas introduced the festivities to celebrate Our Lady of Bonfim (the “good end”) and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the latter of which, organized by the De Souza family, was the most important catholic festivity in Ouidah until the early twentieth century. Alongside this, they were also actively involved in developing the Epiphany festivities in Porto-Novo, which were formerly known as “carnival.”

Introduced in the 1920s, this celebration brings together all the parishes of the city. After a performance of the Passion of Christ, a picnic is held in the grounds of the cathedral. In the late afternoon, the parishioners form a parade leading to the market square. The involvement of the “Brazilians” was certainly what gave this event its carnival-like nature, which it maintained at least until the 1950s. Today, it is not perceived as having any links to the Agudas, whose involvement is very low-key. Indeed, it is no longer called “carnival,” although there are parts of it that are reminiscent of the kind of street parade typical of the traditional Brazilian carnival. 


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  • Festa da Epifania. Missa campal em frente à catedral de Porto Novo, famílias inteiras vieram vestidas com o mesmo tecido - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

    Festa da Epifania. Missa campal em frente à catedral de Porto Novo, famílias inteiras vieram vestidas com o mesmo tecido - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

  • Festa da Epifania: "Missa campal em frente a Catedral de Porto Novo com o cortejo de umas 50 meninas vestidas de anjo. Às dez e meia houve a grande missa campal, em frente à Catedral com o Bispo de Porto Novo, Vincent Mensah" - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

    Festa da Epifania: "Missa campal em frente a Catedral de Porto Novo com o cortejo de umas 50 meninas vestidas de anjo. Às dez e meia houve a grande missa campal, em frente à Catedral com o Bispo de Porto Novo, Vincent Mensah" - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

  • Festa da Epifania. Missa campal em frente à catedral de Porto Novo, famílias inteiras vieram vestidas com o mesmo tecido - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

    Festa da Epifania. Missa campal em frente à catedral de Porto Novo, famílias inteiras vieram vestidas com o mesmo tecido - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

  • Festa da Epifania em frente à catedral de Porto Novo - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

    Festa da Epifania em frente à catedral de Porto Novo - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

  • Festa da Epifania em frente à catedral de Porto Novo - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

    Festa da Epifania em frente à catedral de Porto Novo - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

  • Festa da Epifania em frente à catedral de Porto Novo - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim

    Festa da Epifania em frente à catedral de Porto Novo - 8 de janeiro de 1995 - Porto Novo, Benim