The origin of Arraias is directly linked to mining. The first inhabitants came because of the discovery of a rich gold mining in the Chapada dos Negros, in 1736. The mines attracted large numbers of people, mainly from Bahia, that with the help of slaves, founded the first settlements. In the year 1740, the governor of the captaincy of São Paulo, D. Luiz Mascarenhas, undertook the trip to Natividade. With the aid of Captain Felipe Antonio Cardoso, they found several camps, among them, the Arraias. Because of the large development provided for extracting the gold, Arraias was elevated to town status. In 1914, the municipality is politically emancipated as a city. It is said that the judge Teotônio Segurado, knowing that his political adversary, Captain Felipe Antonio Cardoso, had founded a village, still without name, sent him by joking, some Arraias (fish in the region), as if to suggest a name for the site. This fact, along with a stream of the same name that runs the city, gave rise to the name of the city.
The municipality has a population of varied ethnic background, being largely composed of blacks and to a lesser extent, by whites. Due to economic activities in the region, most of its inhabitants live in rural zones, predominantly herders and farmers. Another curious feature is in Arraias physical longevity of its inhabitants, reaching on average 85 years of age. According to residents, the phenomenon is due to the large concentration of magnesium in the rivers that drain the city. The city looks centenary, with narrow colonial streets, sidewalks and hillsides filled with bloquetos. In the architecture of its streets Portuguese colonial style predominates. Arraias is known as the “City of Hills”, due to large presence of these elevations surrounding the area of the municipality.
Cave of Fazenda Furnas
The cave is about 30 to 40 meters wide and 20 meters tall. Inside, there are four very distinct and ample lounges, of 40 meters in length. Across the cave are formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Annually, the cave is visited by the public during the festival of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, held on August 6. The location offers easy walking, with little need for light. It is 22 km from the city. Access can be made by car on country road.
The main religious festival of the city is the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios, patron saint of Arraias. The festival is held every year from August 3 to September 8. The celebrations have been held since 1835, when it was founded the parish of Our Lady of Remedies, by the vicar Boa Ventura – first priest of Arraias. The population still preserves the traditions of the Festa dos Santos Reis, celebrated 1-6 January; the Folias do Divino, the celebrations of St. Sebastian, 11-20 January; and Semana Santa, with staging of the mystery, passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Carnival is an ancient tradition and with its own characteristics that differ from conventional festivals held in the country. It is also the most popular and lively celebration of the region. The highlight of the festival, which takes place in February, is the traditional “carnival” – a habit of watering the people to the sound of carnival marches, accompanied by accordion. During the carnival, farofa is given to participants.
Chapada dos negros
Large area of ruins and gold digging ditches. It is the exact place where they gave rise to Stingrays. Its name is due to the large contingent of labor, slave labor working in mining of gold Arraias. It is estimated that in the heyday of gold mining there was a slave population of ten thousand blacks. The attraction is located 3 km from the town. Access to it is through a side road.
The craftsmanship of the county is the production of derivative works, leather, straw and wood. The main parts are: bottles, jugs, plates, baskets, quibanos, sieves, trays, pestles, sculpture, embroidery, crochet, hats and leather saddlebags. Typical dishes are: Maria Isabel (rice sirigado with paçoca) and mucunzá. There are also sweets from cashew and buriti and production of liqueurs and pinga. The proximity of Bahia has greatly influenced the cultural traditions of Arraias. You will find capoeira groups, vaquejadas, congadas and African dances like súcia. The population has a tradition of litanies, prayers and novenas.