The origin of the maritime procession of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes, like other festivals, is unknown. It is believed that dates back to the eighteenth century, a time when the slave trade from Africa was at its height. The misfortunes of long trips, such as disease and attacks from pirate ships, led sailors to seek divine protection of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes, initiating one of the traditional religious festivals of Bahia.
The celebration - whose preparations begin on Dec. 27, and end on the first Sunday after the first of January with a mass and land procession - has its apex on the first day of the New Year, when there is a maritime procession. The whole scenario involving characters and sacred sites reminiscent of the Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages, with churches, and processions.