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voltarFRANCISCO

Canindè is a small town situated in the heart of the Sertão, a semi desert region embracing several Northeastern states of Brazil. It would be considered a quiet, provincial town if it wasn’t for the fact that every year, in October, its brought to life by almost one million invading pilgrims. It is considered to be the second biggest pilgrimage in the world in homage of St. Francis of Assisi. The devoted come from every corner of that remote region, which is considered to be the most Catholic of Brazil. They are humble people demonstrating their faith with practices and ritual typical of local religious culture. They are men and women who are willing to accept the dogmas imposed by the Church, but without renouncing their heritage of traditions, where faith often gets mixed up with superstitions and popular beliefs. During the St. Francis celebrations, Canindè becomes like a living painting of the popular Catholicism that, if on one side has made the devotion to Saints the fulcrum of its religious universe, on the other has fundamentally contributed to the diffusion of the official Catholicism. This photographic project evolved during four years in which I tried to document the religious aspect as well as the social phenomenon that surrounds it. The signs of the cultural globalization, that seriously threatens the rich heritage of local traditions, are clearly visible. The deep feeling of mysticism, which is an integral part of the “Sertaneja” cultural identity, is endangered by the progress of modernity that created a religious tourism with an ever more consumerist matrix.

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