Monday, August 23, 2010

An Important Angolan Pilgrimage; to Muxima

Each year, tens of thousands of Catholic Angolans make a pilgrimage to the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Muxima. The church is situated in the Muxima village, northern Bengo province, 130 kilometres from Luanda, Angolan capital.  A 16th Century Portuguese Colonial structure, the church was an important center in the slave trade at the time of its construction.

Deriving from the Kimbundo vernacular language, the word Muxima means heart. This name was attributed to this sanctuary due its localisation (in the centre of the province, along the coast of the Kwanza River).  Now, within the Catholic distinctions, the name and significance of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is linked to the name Muxima.

The festivity to honour Lady Muxima has been happening every December 08, since 1833. Due to its importance and historic significance, in 1924 the Church of Our Lady of Muxima was considered as a important national monument and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on November 22nd, 1996 in the Cultural category.
Since 1645, or before this date, thousands of people flock annually to its venue to speak about his worries, agonies and desires. In 2008, the festivities in honour of Our Lady of Muxima gathered about 150,000 pilgrims.

The village of Muxirna was occupied by the portugueses in 1589 and ten years later (1599), the Fortress was founded and the church was built with a prayer invoking divine blessing from "Nossa Senhora da Muxirna".  Muxima was an important empire of slaves traffic, protected by the Fortress, and the church played an important role in
 the materialization of the traffic, because it was in this religious local, where the slaves were baptized before being deported. It is spacious and strong building with a stern tipically portuguese architecture, built on the border of the Kwanza River. This popular sanctuary was spoiled and set on fire by the netherlanders in 1641, when they enclosed Muxima. Later, it was modified. The Sanctuary with the Virgin Mary image has been a Center of great devotion from de christians, from generations in generations.  (Derived from Wikipedia sites)

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