Imagem card

Buscada of São Gonçalo do Amarante

The cult of São Gonçalo do Amarante has been celebrated for over a hundred years, always on the second Sunday of January, in the district of Itapissuma, located in the historic municipality of Igarassu, Pernambuco. This ceremony originated from the appearance of the image of São Gonçalo do Amarante.

Buscada of São Gonçalo do Amarante

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 06/06/2022

By: Regina Coeli Vieira Machado - Servant of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - PhD in Information and Documentation

The cult of São Gonçalo do Amarante has been celebrated for over 100 years, on the second Sunday of January, in the district of Itapissuma, located in the historic municipality of Igarassu, Pernambuco.


This ceremony originated from the apparition of the image of São Gonçalo do Amarante, near the beach.


It was collected several times by the fishermen of the village and taken to a chapel closer to the place. According to the tradition of the inhabitants, the image had been found two or three times back in the original place facing the sea.


From then on, the devotees gathered together and built a church under his name.

Researchers report that São Gonçalo do Amarante lived and died during the 12th century AD in Douro, Portugal. He was a common hard-working man, built the Church of Our Lady on top of a rock, and several bridges over rivers. Throughout his life he dedicated himself to doing good and transmitting the love of God and spiritual peace to the people.


On his pilgrimages, he took with him a stringed instrument and invoked the people with his melodies, played in open-air dance circles by girls and boys.


In addition to the messages of faith and affection that he transmitted, he was an example of dignity and sanctification. There are many legends about the patron saint of women and couples in love.


It is said that he transmits tranquility and joy to everyone, always protecting those who love each other and helping people to find the right person to love and be happy for a lifetime.


For some, São Gonçalo has supernatural powers against evil and adversity.


Both in Brazil and in Portugal, the processions in honor of Saint Gonçalo are accompanied by young men and women who wish to get married, carrying lit candles all the way. If the candle is not extinguished by the end of the procession, it is certain to get married in the same year.


The Buscada de São Gonçalo or the Festa da Felicidade (Celebration of Joy) is one of the most beautiful and brilliant religious and folkloric events in Igarassu. It takes place in two stages: Levada and Buscada, and lasts one week.


The Levada consists of carrying the image of the São Gonçalo, from the village of Itapissuma, to the Church of Nossa Senhora das Dores to the village of Nova Cruz in Igarassu, followed by a large procession by land, with fireworks, flowers, sacred hymns and much joy.


During the entire week that the image remains in the location, baptisms, weddings, confirmations, and novenas take place.

The following Sunday, the Buscada for the image of São Gonçalo begins, carried out by a large maritime procession, accompanied by thousands of people, including fishermen, devotees, pilgrims, people from the community and tourists from all over the North and Northeast of Brazil. Many boats, jangadas, fishing boats and speedboats, all decorated with flowers, colorful flags, musical bands extolling sacred music and charangas follow the entire journey of the Buscada. While by the sea, another crowd follows the colorful parade singing, in chorus, the hymn to São Gonçalo.


After the image of the saint is installed in the Church, the population begins the presentations of dances and popular revelries, which are part of the  Northeast folklore, starting with the presentation of circle dance groups, violists, fife bands. The main attraction is the Dance of São Gonçalo, or Roda, which is a dance that retains a strong influence of Portuguese folklore. The choreographic show is performed in front of the altar, in the shape of a semicircle, composed of girls and boys, dressed in typical Portuguese clothes.


This great tribute to the patron saint of Itapissuma, who, besides being the protector of women, was chosen by the fishermen of Itapissuma as their protector, which is an act of Christian faith. In the happening of Levada and Buscada the popular belief, solidarity, and humility of the Northeastern people are portrayed, in search of peace among men and faith in God.



Recife, July 17, de 2003.


sources consulted

BUSCADA: uma festa em Itapissuma. Diário de Pernambuco, Recife, 13 jan. 1975. Reportagem.

BUSCADA de São Gonçalo do Amarante. Foto nesse texto. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 9 ago. 2016.

CARVALHO, Sócrates Times de. Traço de giz. Recife: Fundarpe, 1985.


how to quote this text

MACHADO, Regina Coeli Vieira. Buscada of São Gonçalo do Amarante. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2003. Available from: Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Aug. 6, 2020.)