Essay "Oxalá’s Waters"

 

The legend tells that Oxalá made a trip to Oyó to participate in a tribute to Xango. During his trip, Exu preached to him some pieces that obliged him to bathe and to change his clothes 3 times. At the end of the trip, he was arrested by mistake and spent 7 years in prison. During this period, the kingdom lived the deepest drought and many diseases afflicted its inhabitants. When this unjust imprisonment was revoked, Oxalá was bathed and revered by all the other Orixás and a new era of prosperity returned to the kingdom of Oyó.

That is why, nowadays, the main rituals of the party honoring Oxalá involve washing a church stairs and invigorating scented showers of water on everyone who wants to attend. A scrumptious scent spreads through the air.

Being the primary source of life, water is used as a form of purification, a mark of cleansing the past and an opportunity for a "clean" start.

Everybody wears white, the color of Oxalá. White is also the color of purity, of the New Year that is being celebrated at this festival.

The moment to celebrate Oxalá is also the moment to celebrate the opportunities to start again, from the beginning of a new cycle that presents itself "blank" for each one to write its own history.

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