People celebrate a night of entertainment in honour of St. John´s Evangelist, the village patron from December 27th to 28th.
The boys, eager for entertainment, mark the day around a huge bonfire, which still emits smoke in the village´s square. So, just after dawn, they dress the 'Carocho' (devil) with a leather mask, a bunge of lines, in their necks and a huge wooden fork for gathering the smoked ham or to make the village girls fall. Old mouth-organ players, drum and fraita (shepherd flute made from wood) players and dancers with their hats decorated with roses gathered around.
Lusting for the extension of the party, they go around all the houses, one by one: they eat and drink, dance on request and throw the lust of the 'Carocho' on the virgin daughters of the house. And since in the agony of the old year all is forgiven, they exchange gifts and compliments.
The false female of the plentiful group (the 'Old Aunt', bearing a cheetah pattern on her blouse and a rosary of roasted chestnuts by her neck) comes to bid farewell from the house lady, while the family chief is entitled to launch a firecracker, in order to bring good luck for the coming year.
At half past one there is mass. The profane gives way to the sacred, but the pipe sounds like an Lhaço, a holy chant, within the divine holy place. The stick dancers do their thing, while the offertory occurs. After the procession has been around the church, the ritual of mixing the sacred and the profane is fulfilled in the spot, in front of the cruise, with the 'Carocho' and the 'Old Aunt' rehearsing mating gestures.
Everything is merely a scene on the Winter Carnival (a rite of the solstice) in Constantim, on the lands of Miranda. And as the saying goes,
«ne Antruido fázen uas macadas que a la giente dá-le ua risa mui grande» (in the carnival some role plays are made that give us a great laugh).
CONSTANTIM, MIRANDA DO DOURO
In Constantim, a small village near Miranda, women are held. Júlia is an expert in cookink beans stews and Felisbina Rosa in making teas. Fábia Gonçalves is 78 years old. She was already been on Television: her speciality is baking delicious cakes. After 6 months of marriage she was widowed and was also pregnant. Her husband died launching a rocket party. At 'S. João Evangelista' festivities she accepts and gets lupins and olives. She pays the 'Pauliteiros' to dance at her door, but she doesn't want the rocket to be launched as tradition says. She raised her son alone. Many men wanted to marry her, but she never wanted anyone else. She says: «I'm the most honest widow in my village». Almost on entirely life dressed in black!
Constantim, MIRANDA DO DOURO
Teenagers carry large pork bladders tied on the end of sticks, to provoke their elders. From the challenge result lengthy chases that end in heated disputes between new and old, a rite of passage to adulthood. On his tour of the village, the 'Soldier' both offers and protects 'Sécia' (the woman who brings a doll in her arms), and to the taunts of the people —
«Mary, you’re an easy lay, you tart!» — he responds with strong strokes of his leather belt, to defend his honour.
'The Elderly' couple who add up to the four figures of the parade is expected to impose respect. With their staffs they clean up the streets of bladders, reminiscence from the violence of the clashes. The ritual, repeated every year on Christmas Day, ends with the cast of the received gifts at the altar of Our Lady.
Feast of the Elder
PODENCE, MACEDO DE CAVALEIROS
Carnival, March 2011. In Podence, a few miles from Macedo de Cavaleiros, the Roman Saturnalia is fulfilled — the celebrations in honor of Saturn, god of sowing. Devils pull their latest evil before Lent, with leather or tin masks, wearing fringed bedspreads of wool or linen, with a string of bells around their waist and bells bandoliers, the 'Caretos' run through the village in odd forays, chasing the single girls. The party is now turned into a tourist product, open to pipers and ‘gigantones’, to the food and drink stalls and donkey rides.
The lust of rattles launched against the hips of the most unprepared women still remains, however, in the rural atmosphere and the ‘Facanitos’ — prepubescent youth who wear the same clothes promise to continue perpetuate the tradition
Feast of the "Caretos"
Podence, MACEDO DE CAVALEIROS
OF MIRANDA DO DOURO
MIRANDA YÊ LA MIE TIÊRRA: PEOPLE OF MIRANDA DO DOUROslideshow