Daily tasks in the terreiro


The day starts early in the terreiro.  The Iyawo is awakened at about 4AM to be bathed, and then to pray and eat before the sun rises.  Coffee is prepared in the kitchens quite early and there is bread, fruits and a variety of breakfast hot cereals sort of like farina - made of hominy.  

Given that everyone wears white clothing - to work in - there is always a lot of laundry which is usually washed by hand in large basins and then hung to dry in the sun.  The work clothes of ile members are all labeled in indelible markers with their names since you can imagine that tons of white clothing can get all mixed up.



Denise hangs laundry

Clothing and dishes are washed in cold water.  The underskirts and layers of clothing for Orishas are starched in large basin of boiling hot "goma", and then stretched open to  dry stiff.

Ironing is another all day - day in and day out process.  Damp clothes which don't dry well outside during the cooler winter days and nights have to be ironed dry.  There is no clothes dryer.


                                           Lucinha in clothing workroom

Clothing for ile members and for dressing Orishas must be folded and put away.  

There is constant cleaning, sweeping, cooking, plucking, peeling potatoes, chopping up veggies as well as learning songs, dances, and religious protocols.  


Next - Orisha clothing



Denise Oliver-Velez