February 12, 2007

Salvador Bonfim Wish Ribbons
Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

I was visiting Colombia about a half a year ago when I first saw them—worn, colored ribbons on the wrists of a few Israeli guys preparing to fly home. They said they were for luck—wishes, another corrected—obtained in the Brazilian city of Salvador. Now, many months later, I'm in the city of origin, researching the history behind what it is that I've tied to my body.

To understand the ribbon I must explain the church—the 18th-century Igreja Nosso Senhor do Bonfim—and the convergence of two systems of faith within it.

Senhor do Bonfim

Built in 1745, the holy structure sits on a peninsula outside of the city center, now famous for its power to effect miraculous healing cures—transforming it from a rather ordinary church into a popular shrine.

Like most of the churches in Salvador, Bonfim has a catholic base, but allowances were made for dual meaning with catholic saints also taking on the attributes of African gods.

Salvadorians dressed head to toe in white are boldly displaying their devotion to Oxalá, the most powerful Yoruban deity of the Orixá. The Orixá are worshipped by practitioners of Candomblé, the African-Brazilian religion of Bahia.

Long ago the Portuguese settlers brought to Brazil Counter-Reformation Catholicism, which in its efforts to hold back the Protestant sweep of Europe, revitalized saint worship and its mysticism. At the same time, the slaves brought their deities from Angola, the Congo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

The Catholic Church, the official religion of Brazil, does not officially accept Candomblé, but with the country's expansive area it became difficult for the clergy to exert its control over New World Catholics. As a result, the Orixá and the saints were honored side by side, each gradually taking on the identity of the other.

The official laws forbade the practice of Candomblé, and in an act of resistance that forever affected Brazilian culture, the faithful "hid" their Orixá in the identity of the saints, and continued practicing their African religion at will. For example, Oxalá is often portrayed wearing white garments and a silver crown. Oxalá's reputation for his beauty, purity and as the creator of man syncretize him to Jesus Christ.

Today, worshippers don't necessary choose between Christ and Oxalá, on the contrary, the two deities are often worshipped together, their divine forces combined.

Bonfom's Room of Miracles

Bonfim's Sala dos Milagres (Room of Miracles) is a unique (if not bizarre) collection of prayers and praise.

The walls of the small room are covered with photos and testimonials on slips of paper, thanking Senhor do Bonfim for His miracles. The photos displayed heartache fearlessly: pictures of torsos taped by adhesive, car crashes, and burned skin (peeled and raw). Some have prayed for assistance in being elected to office, or obtaining a promotion at work—several military hats hang on the walls.

On the ceiling hang the ex-votos offered by faithful parishioners—wax or plastic replicas of body parts (arms, feet, heads, hearts, spines, and breasts), representing those that were cured or need curing.

As further thanks, people had given away their most prized possessions to the collection in the Bonfim miracle room: bullets extracted from just-near-the-heart, watches, sports jerseys, and keys to cars and houses.

Miracle Ribbons

One of the first things noticed when approaching the church (aside from all the vendors) were hundreds of colorful ribbons tied to the wrought-iron railings enclosing the structure, blowing in the wind.

Senhor do Bonfim wrist ribbons, known as fitas, are an institution in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Senhor do Bonfim means Our Lord of a Good End, which is one way that Bahianas refer to Jesus.

The ribbons found on the streets of Salvador have "Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia" printed on them. Translated from Portuguese, the phrase roughly means In Remembrance of the Savior of Bahia or Souvenir from the God of Bahia—or something along those lines.

Salvador Fita Origins

An enormous number of fitas are distributed in the historic Pelourinho district of this city, where African slaves were once sold at auction. Countless more are sold at fairs and bazaars throughout the country. But the celebrated souvenir bears little resemblance to the original. Created in 1809, fitas had all but disappeared by the middle of the century. Now they've reemerged, albeit in a different guise.

The original fita was known as "the measure of Bonfim", a name it acquired because, at 47 centimeters, its size corresponded to the length of the right arm on a statue of Christ on the high-alter of Bahia's most famous church (Senhor do Bonfim).

19th-Century fitas were fashioned from a piece of silk and finished with permanent ink or silver. Their design included the name of a saint in lettering that was embroidered by hand. These first fitas were worn on the neck as a collar, upon which were hung medallions and holy images.

In contrast to the modern day fita the "measure" was used as much to reflect change as to (hopefully) facilitate it. The faithful adorned them with small images and/or little wax sculptures of body parts believed to have been cured with the help of a saint. These opportunities to be remembered were purchases that supported, as well as symbolized, the Catholic Church.

The common fita of today is not made of silk, comes in many colors and is tied around the (left usually) wrist rather than around the neck. Its primary function is to petition for future miracles—large or small—rather than to remind anyone of previous such interventions.

The modern-day fita is also worn to promote Brazilian pride and/or simply as a souvenir. It can be made of nylon, as is the case with fitas produced in São Paulo, or of cotton, as with fitas made in Salvador by a cooperative of artisans.

Fitas come in a variety of colors, each color representing a particular Orixá. Yellow, for example, is Oxum, daughter of Yemanjá, and is the Orixá of wealth and of freshwater, as delicate as the bubbling streams and as forceful as the raging waterfalls.

It isn't known exactly when the transition from original to present-day traditions began, but the wrist fita has been sold in the streets for decades. The transition may have begun when fitas were adopted by hippies as a part of a cultural uniform that included sandals and leather tote bags.

Wishing Protocol

Multiple chances for a miracle, or chances for multiple miracles, are obtained as the wearer makes a wish each time one of three knots are tied to secure the fita around the wrist.

No wish will be granted unless the cloth is permitted to wear until it disintegrates naturally, and falls from the wrist of its accord. If you remove or cut the ribbon yourself the wishes will not—never?—come true and invites bad luck and misfortune upon you.

If you plan to stay the course and leave the ribbon on, it's a serious commitment. The typical fita is rumored to fall off after a handful of months, but I've read stories of ribbons staying intact for anywhere from six months to two years after they were tied!

There was one Internet source found that said you must never purchase your own ribbons, but only accept them as gifts. Additionally, some sites mention a third party should tie the knots for you, as you make your wishes.

Explanations for the gift/helper stipulations could have originated from the hordes of locals on the streets trying offering the fitas as "free" gifts, or children attempting to run up and tie one on your wrist. The ribbon is free, but they often guilt the recipient into buying some little trinket of junk in return.

My Ribbons & Mistakes

My wish fitas

I ended up affixing three ribbons to my person, but because of the permanency and visibility involved I opted against the wrist, and went for the ankle instead (next to the little anklet I made).

I've already forgotten the specifics of the wishes, but grouped them so I could remember the generalities easily: The white ribbon had wishes for health; the blue for business; and the orange for happiness.

As they did not give away the ribbons at Bonfim for free (as I was told), I ended up having to buy my own fitas and tie them myself. Two strikes against me? Perhaps, but these are sure to be a fun conversation piece outside of the continent. Until then, the owner of my hostel is probably right in that fita wearers might as well hold up a big sign saying "I'm a tourist, rip me off."

Update: One Year Later

It's hard to believe these ribbons have been on my ankle for a year already, but they have, and they're holding their own quite well:

Update: 18 April, 2008

I recently lost the blue ribbon out of the trio I tied on my ankle, and my Peruvian girlfriend (who is quite knowledgeable on Brazilian culture) remarked that I wasn't to touch the broken ribbon after it had come off. It was meant to be found by another.

This was the first time I'd heard such a thing, and thought I'd add it to the general info about the fitas.

Update: 31 May, 2008

Wish ribbon number two, the orange ribbon, has fallen off after 474 days. It will be missed.

Update: 2 August, 2008

Sadly, my third and final fita (the white one) is no more, 537 days after putting in on in Salvador.



February 21st, 2007

:D Fun blog today… Sure enjoy your writing.


March 1st, 2007

This blog gives great insight, my Brasilian friends gave me mine and tied it for me in all the correct manors, i just really wanted to know more about the religious beliefs behind in and the exact thing i've been wearing. I do have strong beliefs towards it and i believe it will work…or atleast i'm really hoping so. I'm told not to tell my wishes, like blowing out candles on a birthday cake.


May 4th, 2007

My best friend went to Brasil and brought back handfulls of these ribbons. She gave me mine and tied it on for me! I love them and I can't wait to go myself to expirence all this history. And just so you know I've had mines on for about a year now and is still in good shape.


January 30th, 2008

I really enjoyed your writting,I think it shows you're as enthralled and intrigued about these ribbons and the hope they bring to its bearer like myself…

I'm not sure wether or not to be superstitious about the specifics of buying it for yourself, where you put it, who ties it, etc…But a friend of mine tied my pink ribbon on my left wrist and I had it for 2-3 weeks and I was just in the middle of a class and I found the ribbon in my hand untied!!!It's worn and you can barely read the inscription on it but not to the point where i can't tie it back on… I have no idea what that means or if I should tie it back on or if I should wait and see… My wishes weren't unattainable and I think 2 of them are already on their way of coming true….

So I'd love to read what you think I should do???

Hope your wishes come true! :)


Craig | travelvice.com

January 31st, 2008

Howdy Nice,

I'd put the ribbon back on, but with the same wishes. Part of the fun of having the wish ribbons is looking at them age slowly over time.

Beach Bum

March 7th, 2008

You know way more about ribbons than I ever knew… I have worn out a few of them in my lifetime, always takes more than a year. I've always kept it on the same wrist as my watch, in case I needed to hide it for a fancier affair, I could just slide my watch over it.


March 15th, 2008

Great,informative article…1 thing you left out,though. In my travels to Salvador,Bahia I was approached by little,cute street kids who wanted to give me a bracelet like these,and I accepted gladly. Seemed like a sweet gesture. From the moment I tied the bracelet on my wrist,wherever I went in the city,day or night,I was immediately surrounded by groups of kids & beggars asking me for money. A friend of mine who lives in Salvador told me,"Ahhhh,the Tourist Bracelet! They identify you by that thing!" It's like the way scientists "tag" animals in the wild,so they can always find them. When I took my bracelet off in the middle of a busy street,all the local people who saw me started clapping and laughing,giving me approving nods & congratulating me for realizing their "game". They ARE very playful in Bahia,Life is a game to them,so the bracelet is just one facet of that.If you wanna be I.D.'d as a Tourist/Sucker/Easy Target,then walk around Bahia with one of those bracelets on your arm! Travel safe,travel smart. Be a Traveler,NOT a Tourist. Ciao,mais tarde…{G}


March 19th, 2008

Im very sad because today i lost my fita–after two years and 5 months!!! yes it stayed on my right wrist for that long a time!!! i was wondering though, since it came off naturally do i still get my wishes? i heard from a brasileiro that when it comes off you should get it and throw it in the ocean (or sea) is this true?? thanks

The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

March 19th, 2008

Wow — almost two and a half years! I know I'm rather attached to mine, just over the one-year mark.

Yes! Those wishes should come true since the ribbon fell off naturally.

…and that's an interesting notion that I haven't heard about throwing the fitas into the ocean — if anyone else has heard about this, please add a comment about it.


March 21st, 2008

yes almost two and half years, and incidentally, this happened only a week after i broke up with the brazilian boyfriend who had given me the fita…i guess it was telling me that i should move on and forget anything connected with the guy…but i have grown very attached to that fita (same way you were i guess)…its just very sad…as for throwing them in the ocean,i verified the info with another brasileiro and yes, its true, apparently its been a tradition in Bahia since the locals are very attached to the sea…they give the fitas back to the sea-goddess (those who believe in mysticism)…hope someone else could provide insights on this…and, also another question, where can i get fitas outside of brazil? i'd love to wear one again…


March 28th, 2008

Yeah my friend from Brazil gave me some i had mine for about 6 days.Great pics!

Patricia Ariano

April 6th, 2008

thank you craig! i'm a brazilian from the state of são paulo and married to an american. he is reading a jorge amado book and senhor do bonfim came up. i myself did not know the entire 'history' behind the fitinhas even though i have had many of them tied around my wrist or ankle. loved your comments! thanks!


April 22nd, 2008

Just yesterday, I had gone to a concert where they put a band on my wrist so that I could have a beer if I wanted. Well, afterwards, coming home from the concert in my cousins dark car, I went to take off that band when I accidentally also tore off my fita. I'm a little worried. I didn't mean to yank it off with the other band on my wrist, but it did. Does anybody know what that may mean. Funny thing too. I was just getting some compliments on it and I've had it almost a year.

Thanks for any advice


May 3rd, 2008

thanks for the infos about the ribbons! Blogs are always great resaureces about cultural elements..

I also do have a Salvador Bonfim Ribbon.Well actually I had one untill 5 mins ago. It lasted about 4.5 months, though I made a wish for something which suppose to happen after a year.. So shall I put tie it back or leave it??
I also did hesistate to make it tighter when I had seen it getting loose..I just wanted to leave it it's own natural way..

Anyway, not that I strongly believe in it, just curious about it..


May 20th, 2008

Hey,thanks for the infos about the ribbons! Blogs are always great resaureces about cultural elements..I also do have a Salvador Bonfim Ribbon.Well actually I had one untill 5 mins ago. It lasted about 4.5 months, though I made a wish for something which suppose to happen after a year.. So shall I put tie it back or leave it??I also did hesistate to make it tighter when I had seen it getting loose..I just wanted to leave it it's own natural way..Anyway, not that I strongly believe in it, just curious about it..:o)


May 23rd, 2008

I really enjoyed your writing and i love these wish ribbons! my friend just got back from brazil and brought them back for all of us to make wishes! I actually have a question for you… I am working at a leadership camp this summer where we have to give a meaningful gift to all of my kids and i would love nothing more than to give them all a wish ribbon and have them make wished for their lives! Do you know if there is any possible way to purchase and order them from the states? Let me know, thanks!


The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

May 24th, 2008

Thanks :)

Rumor has it that there might be something similar found on eBay


July 20th, 2008

there is currently an art exhibit at the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh featuring these Fitas.

the artist drilled maybe, 5,000 holes into this long section of the museum wall and filled each one with a different Fita.

Visitors are told to pull a ribbon that they identify with, and replace it with a wish written on a rolled up slip of paper.

Now, I'm convinced I have 2 1/2 knots instead of the three… I can't exactly tell, but it doesn't look like three… I tied it on earlier this afternoon.

Really wish I'd realized this thing would take a year to fall off. I'm too superstitious to take it off now, but one year is a looong time to wear this thing.

the other thing is that, instead of the name of the church, the artist inscribed each ribbon with a wish from another person. when ours falls off, it's supposed to enable the wish of that other person, not our wishes when we tied it.
And supposedly, this artist will eventually do another piece, in another museum, using the wishes from this exhibit to create a whole new set of Fitas for other ppl.

It's such a romantic idea. I loved learning more about the history of this from you, thanks!


July 31st, 2008

I'm Brazilian as well…..since I was a kid I've had my share of Fitas in my wrist!!!! And I'm not kidding, my wishes do happen once they break! Even the hardest ones…I only had it about 3 times, once when I first visited Bahia and I was 8 yrs old…Then again when I was about 29 and now I have my 3rd one :)
I had all my American friends visiting Brazil last year get one, and we still have them on… For one of the girls, 2 knots came of and she emailed me saying 2 wishes came true! She couldn't believe it…

I'm still waiting on mine….usually takes a yr and a half for mine to rip..but one thing's for sure…you don't wanna mess up with the divine forces so hang in there and be patient! :)


August 7th, 2008

My dad Just returned from Brazil and gave me a blue fita as a gift.It was very interesting to hear more about them but I was wondering if anyone knew what blue stood for because you had mentioned what yellow represented.


August 13th, 2008

yeaaa iv had my one froma firend for 3 years and it just broke off the other night!!
one of the wishes came true a few days before it broke now just gotta wait for the other 2 :)


August 21st, 2008

There's an enormous bucket of these at the Brazilian Cafe in Berkeley, California. (they give them away free) A few years ago a friend of mine brought me there and tied one on my wrist, and I had it for over a year. One of the wishes had actually come true, long after I had hoped it wouldn't.

I never thought to research on what the inscription meant until a friend of mine said, "That could say that you have contagious STDS and you would have no idea. How could you wear something when you don't know what it means?"

Of course he was being sarcastic and in no way did I believe him…but when I actually read your blog I was relieved to know that it was something along the lines of what I had hoped for.

Good luck to all!


August 25th, 2008

It's great to read the history of the fitas on here. I was given mine by a Brazilian guy I made friends with in Mexico, and although he told me about the 3 wishes he didn't explain the background to the ribbons. I've had mine for about 3 months and hope it stays on a long time as now I know what it means it'll be a good conversation point! plus it reminds me of my amazing holiday. I kept meaning to research what the Portuguese phrase translated as, but didn't expect to find so much info about it and the culture which created it, so thanks. Just one question I hope you can answer - does anyone know what a white fita symbolizes, in terms of the African deities?


October 7th, 2008

As far as I'm aware, these ribbons are originally an Irish custom.
Similar "wish ribbons' have been worn here for centuries in memory of the three patron saints of Ireland - St Patrick, St Brigid and St. Columcille.
Three knots, three wishes,Three saints.
They are said to have been brought to Ireland by St Brendan from the Mythical Island of 'Hy-Brazil' which is said to appear off the west coast of Ireland every seven years.
I believe they may have made their way to brazil via the Youruba people of Nigeria but I'm pretty sure they originated here first.


October 15th, 2008

Well, this has all been interesting reading, but what do you think of this: My 4 year old came home from her Italian Catholic school with one on! Tied on by her teacher, a nun! Unfortunately I had no idea what it was and as it was wrapped twice around her wrist I couldn't read the inscription. How have I now and got to this site? By untying it from her wrist (which she insisted I do!) As a superstitious person I'm not too happy that she had this on as she wouldn't understand what it was all about.


November 6th, 2008

I was in Bahia in February and still have mine intact on my left wrist. Its nice to read about other people who ventured out of their comfort zones to experience other cultures. Also, I appreciate the info. I have been wearing it for almost 9 months without knowing its history or even proper name. Thanks! -Tracilyn


December 20th, 2008

I stumbled across this blog's story (which is very well-written and explained), and wanted to share my story, too, even though it's long…

On a plane to Chicago a year ago, I was wearing a Brazil tshirt. The airline attendant mentioned my shirt, and I told him I was going to Brazil next summer. He was Brazilian and excited that I was interested in studying Portuguese. He gave me a fita and simply said "Here… a souvenir… we all wear them." I didn't understand what it meant at the time, and didn't tie it on because I wanted to keep it and have the "Lembrança…" letters in tact.

Well, I spent the past summer in Salvador and various other places in Bahia. I can't believe I made it there. I was given a special orange fita with the albergue's (hostel) name on it in Praia do Forte, and about five Bahia fitas given to me by my coordinator. My best friend tied it on as I made my wishes. Later on the trip, our friend got robbed, and our Brazilian friend told us the fitas made us look like tourists. All of my friends took their bracelets off except for me and another friend. I was superstitious and didn't want to take it off. I found a way to (like another person who commented said) hide my bracelet under my watch while walking the streets in Brazil. My friend and I still have our bracelets, and I love them so much I hope they never fall off. They remind me daily of the best time of my life…
I am glad to see his final fita made it to 537 days of a long life… parabéns…
LauraWise s

Mara Rayanne

December 28th, 2008

Does anyone know where to find a list of the fitas colors and the meaning for each color? I found a few in the blog and comments, but I have several more colors of fitas that I brought home from my trip to Brazil and I would like to tell my friends what each color stands for.


January 15th, 2009

You can buy these bracelets at brazilets.com or go to the blog brazilianwishbracelets.blogspot.com. They are sold in the US to plant trees in Brazil. I have bought a 12 pack from them and right now you get one free when you buy the assorted pack. I heard someone just found out they were pregnant the day hers fell off. These brazilets are awesome!!!


February 24th, 2009

i checked out and bought a few colors from Brazilets.com is where I bought mine and the coolest thing is that the company gives back to Brazil (specifically through the Nature Conservancy's efforst in the Atlantic Amazon) So while spreading a beautiful cultural tradition, we're giving back to Brazil, the Amazon, and the region where these started!…

Magan Weber

March 26th, 2009

I would love to custom print (personalize) some ribbons like these…any ideas about how to go about it inexpensively??


April 7th, 2009

i just wore my first fita! i have a question to make!!
can i cut the edges ? the ribbon is too long!!!
valia from greece


April 9th, 2009

You can buy these ribbons @ http://www.wishfita.com


April 17th, 2009

Hey. I just want to say that I'm an exchange student in France for the year, and I have a lot of Brazilian friends. All of them bought over Fitas, and now everyone in my exchange organisation has at least one. They are such a great talking point, and I hope that my wishes do come true. Thanks for the information about the history behind it. I kind of knew it, but it got lost in translation, so now I understand fully.


Emmaleigh Hauck

May 18th, 2009

Hi! Great piece of writing, I have to say. I have just ordered a few fitas in the mail straight from Brazil, and had no idea what the history of them was until I came to this page, so I thank you!

If anyone wants to know what colors go with what Orixas you can go to this site:


It explains all of the Orixas as well as what color goes with them.

Thanks again for the detailed information! It helped me out alot :D


July 21st, 2009

Hi there,
My sister and I have just bought our first fitas! We're very excited but slightly confused. We know there should be three knots, but should the third knot be the one that ties the two ends together? Or should there be three knots along the length of the ribbon and then another tying the ends together?



Craig | travelvice.com

July 22nd, 2009

The three knots are basically on top of each other, tying the loose ends together one after the other. :)


July 29th, 2009

I have worned mine for 4 years and 9 months, and today I slided my hand out a window an it got cut of when I was pulling it back in… What should I do?, what does this mean? Is it time for my wishes to come true?..


August 19th, 2009

I have just returned home from a month long trip in Brasil and had spent most of my trip in Salvador,Bahia. I received a blue 'fita' for free from a child in Pelourinho and did not know the full extent of the meaning at the time. After reading this blog I see that is a wish ribbon (^-^). Mine was tied with two knots and not three, and was tied to on my right wrist and not my left. I do not know if the wish part of the fita will work because of this.

My fita is still in good condition. I had untied it to read the full text and research it online. But, I have tied it back onto my arm in hopes to have it fall off naturally and to make a wish off of it. I wonder how long it will stay on;one month so far has gone by.


August 27th, 2009


I have had mine for about 4 years now…and although thin it looks in great shape. This is the third ribbons I am wearing. All my wishes came true but this time it is four years away and I cannot remember what my wishes were…For the first time I can t wait for the ribbon to fall because I know something good will happen.

May happiness be in your lives to you all


September 7th, 2009

Hi thanks for adding this blog.

I went to see a man who is an Kimbanda. I don't no much about it but it was for a reading anyway. While I was there he read some shells and mad some funny sounds as he was praying. Anyway at the end of it he should be some of his alters and then gave me a yellow wristband and tied it on my left wrist and told me to make a wish he said when it falls off my wish would be granted. I wore the band and never tampered with it. I went to see him on the Saturday and the band fall off on the Sunday, the band was tied very tightly. I have been reading here that these bands are meant to stay on for months and maybe years so i think that it's a bit werid that mine fall off after one day maybe the wish i made will come true. Thanks for post cos i thought the man was trying to con me with some yellow string lol. Now i will want and see what happens that again.


September 8th, 2009

Well - mine was given to me by a very nice lady, her husband and young child at Burning Man 2009. It is on my left ankle. I only made one wish for the 3 knots. Guess this 60ish lady will be wearing a red ribbon for a while…
Thank you for the history and story behind the ribbons.


October 16th, 2009

What if my bracelet was naturally stretched and fell off instead of breaking off? Does it count?


January 19th, 2010

This is a really fascinating entry - thanks! My fita fell off today after exactly 3 years and 1 month! It was tied very tightly! I'll miss it…

The United Kingdom


February 19th, 2010

I had my ribbon on since Aug, but Ive had really bad luck ever since and I'am convinced my bad luck has something to do with the ribbon!!! Is it because its on my right wrist?? I've read it goes on your left wrist! What should I do? Should I take it off now or let it come off naturally?



March 2nd, 2010

I've had mine on for several years now and have some questions about the ribbon. I hope someone can answer me! I got my ribbon from a friend who got it from a friend from Brazil.My friend did'nt tie three knots on my ribbon-only one. Some weeks or months later I decided to take it off (can't remember why) but after a while I tied it on again because I got so afraid of the consequenses. I REALLY,REALLY believe that me taking the ribbon off and then on again has brung bad luck upon me!!!I want to take it off again. The ribbon is dark-blue. Should I take it off(again)myself,or do I make it worse then? And if I take it off,should I keep it or throw it? And off course; it would almost be hilarious- but have I worn a bracelet that gave me bad luck from the moment I took it off in over 4 years now instead of NOT tying it on again?? Please please please answer me =p



March 9th, 2010

It's 9 months to the day after it was tied on and my yellow bonfim ribbon broke this morning. I feel slightly bereft without it. Each time I absently fiddled with it, I was reminded of swimming in both the Amazon and Angel Falls, which brought a smile to my face. So appropriate that yellow orixa Oxum represents rivers and waterfalls. I will sacrifice it to the Pacific Ocean next weekend. At least I still have the purple one hanging in there as a physical connection to my South America trip.

I remember the yellow band wishes I made in Salvador as being for good health, happiness and more travel, but my luck today seems to be all monetary related - a free parking spot, a company bonus and unexpected notification of unclaimed shares from years ago. I don't know if these events are just coincidental, but the effect is that I feel amazingly positive and excited today.



March 12th, 2010

very nice entry.. i know that there are different colours of ribbons..
if i take a yellow one which stands for success does it mean i have to concentrate my wishs on success or is it free like a wish for health or something? ;)

The United States

Nat Lach

March 28th, 2010

I have been looking for more info on these ribbons for some time now and was very happy to find this entry.
I had my fita on for 2 years and 7 months and ironically, it fell off moments after I read this. Here's hoping I get my wish.

The United States


March 29th, 2010

I really enjoyed this entry. It gave me a lot of insight into the fitas. My best friend tied mine on my wrist as a token of love and friendship, and after 3 years, it fell off this weekend. My wrist feels naked without it.

The United States


April 8th, 2010

i'm jewish, so would it be technically "against" judaism if i wore it? like does it have anything to do with worshiping idols, or anything to do with the religious beliefs of Catholicism?

The United States


July 31st, 2010

I am really thrilled by your story about the ribbons. I was in Salvador de Bahia in 2005 and I was given two ribbons, a white and a second blue. Actually, I held them both along my jewelry and never occurred to me to wear them. I did not know about the real meaning of these ribbons until I met some Brazilians in the US state where I lived then, they explained to me, so I felt excited and went ahead and tie the three knots myself, and I decided to do the ankle. It was great and it was holding up very well until it got cut in my denim zipper and I was changing my outfit - really strange reason. So I suppose, after reading your story, that it really ruined my wish.
Today, I just realized I still have the blue one, which I ran into as I was organizing my jewelry… then I felt tempted to Google the ribbons meaning again and whatnot… Well here I am writing to you.
Thanks for the great written Peace.

The United States


August 2nd, 2010

I just received mine last night from a friend, and another friend tied it on for me, but it literally just fell off!! After 1 night! I'm a little worried this means my wish won't come true (I only made 1 wish on all 3 knots hoping it would make it stronger) I don't know how it fell off but I moved my arm and there it was laying on my leg!

The United Kingdom


August 17th, 2010

Oh wow, I'm so glad you kept a record of your wish ribbons & gave all this info! I bought mine in a little foreign shop in the UK and put it on. (That was September 3rd 2008) and it's still on now, 714 days later! I may arrange a 2 year celebration on September 3rd 2010 :D It's such a nice idea, I love it.

The Netherlands


September 20th, 2010

Mijn vriend heeft mijn bandje van mijn pols getrokken omdat hij veel te strak zat. Brengt het nu ongeluk? Zoja, wat kan ik eraan doen om dat te voorkomen?



September 29th, 2010

i am writing from INDIA…and i have the FITA for the last year and a month and it is still on my right wrist!!!I loved your article as it explained the questions my Indian friends had about it! I will write back if it every falls off and if things every come true although i am not expecting anything…I come from the land of beliefs and pilgrimage and all that and most of the times we all believe in the magic of simple things.

The United States


February 9th, 2011

It's nice to read about the history of the ribbon that's been tied around my wrist for just over 3 years now. Thanks!



February 19th, 2011

Yellow = Success & Intelligence

Lime Green = Health, Fertility & Hope

Dark Green = Money & Growth

Light Blue = Love, Tranquillity, Understanding

Dark Blue = Comfort & Security

Red = Passion & Strength

Pink = Friendship, Acceptance & Sensuality

Purple = Spirituality & Sophistication

White = Wisdom/Inner Peace

The United States

Claudia Orenstein

February 26th, 2011

We are a group of students and faculty at CUNY reading about theories that might pertain to puppetry and performing objects and saw a photo of the Sala de milagros int he book Power of Images by David Freedberg. HE didn't say too much about them, but your BLOG here was SOO O interesting and informative. Thank you. One of my PhD students may now be doing her dissertation research on this topic.



March 17th, 2011

My Friend lived in Brazil for a year and brought us all back these ribbons, mine is littarly hanging on by one thread it will be missed. and unfortunately none of my wishes came true.. good bye ribbon :(

Costa Rica


April 30th, 2011

Excellent post, and very helpful to my daughter who is preparing a powerpoint presentation on Brazil for school.

New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Georgia Evelyn

May 2nd, 2011

Is it possible to buy these ribbons off the internet? Do you know where I could get some without going to Brazil?

The United States


July 18th, 2011

Thanks for all the great information! My friend Kristi, who lived in Salvador for a few months, tied a dark blue wish ribbon on me a few weeks after we met. It's been on my left wrist for 2 1/2 years now!


Lilena Marinou <3

July 26th, 2011

Wow I didn't know there was so much information behind a bracelet! Thanks for the piece of info, it was very useful. I just have one question: what is the meaning of the purple and light blue ribbon?
Anyway, I really enjoyed this article!



August 10th, 2011

Hey, I have worn my fita for over three years now. And even though it hasn't fallen off yet, one of my wishes came true. I love them, and thank you for putting the story behind them up on the internet!



August 11th, 2011

Thanks for defining the history and customs behind the fita. Mine has been on 7 months now and going strong! Happy travels….



November 1st, 2011

Hey, you didn't say if your wishes came true… Did they?

The United States


January 18th, 2012

In July the one on my ankle will have been there ten years. My wish has not come true yet and after ten years I am not cutting it off. I want this sucker to fall off soooooo bad. It looks so nasty!

The United Kingdom

Tim Martins English

November 6th, 2012

Six years and counting…



June 22nd, 2013

Great blog! Do you know if it is considered bad luck if you cut off the ends after having tied the band to the wrist??

The United States


January 9th, 2014

Hey, I just wanted to say I got here from a search, and this post had exactly what I was looking for. Thanks. :)

The United States


November 7th, 2014

hello… my own white band has just fallen off, 7-Nov-2014… after tying it in the south of france (Nice) with my girlfriend in June 2012… approximately 2 1/2 years ago!!

Thanks for the good article… cheers, René

The United States


September 13th, 2015

I was in Bahia back in 2014 and received mine from a lady on the street who tied it for me as well (I'm on the right path) then ripped me off by offering me to buy her a neckles..
It has been 531 days since I was tied and it is still going strong, no signs of it coming off any time soon.

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