Essay “Toré rithual by the Pankararus”


Suddenly, from the middle of the arid trail of the caatinga, eccentric figures appear: people completely covered by a garment and a mask of Ouricuri fibers. They are the Praiás, of the Pankararus Indians, who came to pay their homage to Father Cicero.

They come from Tacaratu, a small town in the interior of Pernambuco, on the banks of the São Francisco River. Like most of the Northeastern population living in the caatinga, they have a very strong relationship with the priest.

The Praiás are the caretakers of the Enchanted, living individuals who mysteriously disappeared and moved in the invisible. It is through the Praiás that the Enchanted leave the invisible and come ashore, to dance, to give advice, to heal illnesses, to talk to  the people they miss who are still here. They are the ones who take the Enchanted from the city of Juazeiro do Norte to Horto hill, to visit the statue of Padre Cícero, his museum and to make the way to the Holy Sepulcher.

They make the trail of the Holy Sepulcher, like all other pilgrims, but in a different way: they smoke their pipes and, in each chapel where they enter, they sing and dance. Some are in a trance.

They walk in the scorching mid-day sun without ever showing their identity. They mix with the earth and the scenery. They bring even more magic to this already mystical place and enchant everyone who crosses them during the Festival.

São Paulo - Brasil