History Of Pedra do Sal
Pedra do Sal is a historical and religious monument located in the neighborhood of Saúde, near Largo da Prainha, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is where the Remains of Quilombos da Pedra do Sal Community is located. It was listed on November 20, 1984 by the State Institute of Cultural Heritage.
A place of special importance for Afro-Carioca culture and for lovers of samba and choro. It can be considered as the symbolic nucleus of the region called Little Africa, which was full of zungus, collective houses occupied by black slaves and ceilings.
Pedra do Sal – 1608
A Bahian group settles in Saúde, where housing is cheaper and closer to the Cais do Porto, where men seek vacancies on the stowage.
The first large docks in Rio de Janeiro appear at this time, dating from there the appearance of wharves where the dockers were gathered in an area of tortuous streets and alleys around Pedra da Prainha, later known as Pedra do Sal, where was the great market of slaves.
Pedra do Sal – 1817
It is around Pedra do Sal that Bahians are concentrated bringing their meeting points to the neighborhoods. It becomes a reference point for black culture, with its importance based on affective and cultural values.
In fact, the Bahian colony imposes itself in the world of Rio around its leaders coming from the Candomblé terreiros and party groups, constituting one of the only popular groups in Rio de Janeiro with common traditions and cohesion, whose influence extends to the entire heterogeneous community that forms in the neighborhoods around the port pier.
João Alabá’s candomblé house is one of the most important places where the Bahians of origin live. Bahian aunts like Ciata, Bibiana, Mônica, Perciliana and others, who were in João Alabá’s terreiro, form one of the main nuclei of organization and influence on the community. It is these black women who gain respect for their central positions in the terreiro and for their participation in the main activities of the group, which guaranteed the permanence of African traditions and the possibilities for their revitalization in the wider life of the city.
The most famous of all Bahian women, the most influential, was Hilária Batista de Almeida, the “Tia Ciata”, cited in all reports of the emergence of samba in Rio and ranchos, as in the memory of the city’s ancient blacks. Born in Salvador in 1854, on the day of Santo Hilário, she arrives in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 22. From the courtship with fellow countryman Norberto, Isabel is born, still during Ciata’s first adult experiences. She is a confectioner and starts working at Rua da Carioca, always wearing her clothes from Bahia. Later, Hilária will live with João Batista in a definitive relationship with whom she had 15 children. A woman of great initiative and energy, Ciata makes her life of constant work, becoming the initiator of the Carioca tradition of Bahian farmers, an activity that has a strong religious foundation. In the first half of the 19th century, her presence was documented in Debret’s book “Viagem Pitoresca e Histórica do Brasil”.
In the house of Alabá, Hilária was primarily responsible for the duties of the saint.
Aunt Ciata de Oxum, patron of sensuality and pregnancy, protector of children who still do not speak, orixá of fresh waters, beauty and wealth. Ciata was a party girl, she did not fail to celebrate the orixás parties at her house in Praça Onze, when, afterwards, the pagoda was set up.
At the time, there was a lot of police attention to the meeting of blacks. Both samba and candomblé are objects of continuous persecution, seen as dangerous things, which should be extinguished. Tia Ciata’s house was a favorable place for meetings, a place where collective activities took place, both for work and candomblé.
With the modernization of the city and the displacement of former residents of Saúde to Cidade Nova, the small carnival takes over Praça Onze.
Pedra do Sal – 1930
Hilário, the main creator and organizer of ranchos da Saúde, would be one of the responsible for the displacement of the parades for the carnival, which would substantially transform its characteristics.
Beside the ranches, rascals, unemployed, irregular workers, they all left in anarchic groups forming blocks and strings, still as a black continuity of the old entrudo.
The carnival in Rio de Janeiro lost its raw appearance from the first half of the 19th century when it became African to a modern aspect, the cycle of party groups, reaching the creation of samba schools.
With Bibiana’s death, Ciata was left alone, in a rather large house. On party days, the ball was in the room, where the sambas of loud parties were played among the elders and even instrumental music when black professional musicians (sons of Bahians) appeared. In the yard, the samba is streaked and sometimes the drumming wheels are among the younger ones.
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