Trás-os-Montes: Between the sacred and the profane

Religion is part of the nature of people of Trás-os-Montes and mixes in various celebrations with magic and superstition.

Associação de Turismo do Porto CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The people of Trás-os-Montes surely admit the existence of God as the existence of the devil, witches, seers, saints and spirits.

Why go

  • Gastronomy and Wine
  • Heritage
  • Natural Landscape

The religious festivals of the region claim the presence of a divine entity in life, but also the local communities, as living forces. And attract family, friends and strangers.

Check out this corner of Portugal where the sacred and the profane go hand in hand and people open the house, the cellar, the kitchen and a box of bread and ham for visitors!

The Carnival

Live the true traditional carnival and dive into a magical world in the carnivals of Lazarim (Lamego), Vinhais (Vinhais) and Podence (Maçedo de Cavaleiros).

In the Carnival festivities of Podence, for example, the Caretos come every year to the street representing evil and mysterious images.

They emerge in droves from all sites, whistling and making noise with their frantic rattles, crossed on the fringes of its thick colorful blankets. They Wantonly roam the village and leave no one indifferent.

The masked run after unmarried girls and boys are pursued by the younger, the facanitos that try to imitate. The girls watch everything from windows or balconies of their homes, with a mixture of excitement and fear that the boys climb the walls of houses.

It is a fantastic party and fascinating, full of seduction and mystery.

You will like

  • To spend the Carnival in the region: diabolical Caretos parades, and matrafonas facanitos, readings of wills, and public trials, matchmakers are some of the traditions of Carnival in Tras-os-Montes
  • To see the ritual of Chocalheiro in Benposta
  • To visit the Ecomuseum Barroso, in Montalegre

In Macedo de Cavaleiros, try the pork sausage with greens, wild boar stew with chestnuts and mushrooms and rice pudding.

Less known is the tradition of Chocalheiro de Bemposta in Mogadouro. It is also one of the strongest in Trás-os-Montes. The figure appears in the December 26 and then on New Year's Day. Some say it's the devil, but the truth is that chocalheiro is what makes the collection of funds for the church.

These rituals of the winter solstice have a deep mythological significance. They are initiation rites whose origins are lost in time.

Land of Healers

If you visit the region in September, visit Vilar de Perdizes, a land where everyone is a healer of oneself, your family, your friends and neighbors. In Trás-os-Montes, folk medicine and the power of medicinal herbs have an importance that is not seen in any other region of Portugal.

The Congress of People's Medicine of Vilar de Perdizes joins the sacred to the profane for over 25 years and is already one of the most visible signs of the municipality of Montalegre.

Take the opportunity to buy herbal medicines and liqueurs and explore the village, which, offers an interesting range of restaurants, cafes, hotels and rural hotels.

What you need to know

  • Macedo de Cavaleiros receives the Hunting Fair last weekend of January and the International Festival of Traditional Music in the first Friday and Saturday in September
  • Every two years, in December, the Mascararte happens - Biennial Mask in Bragança

In Terras de Barroso, in addition to the natural landscape - the mountains dominates the postcard - and of traditions, also pay attention to food. It is from here the famous veal barrosã: the cows feed on grass care while touring by hills and valleys. In this corner of Trás-os-Montes, also worth visiting Paredes do Rio, a traditional old village.

Friday 13th

Also in Montalegre, whenever there is a Friday the 13th, is Halloween's Night.

A crowd of people watch fireworks, acrobatic numbers, exorcism, percussion and fire. The party has assumed such dimension that the organization has extras from outside the county.

You will hear the famous Burning of Padre Fontes. Do not be surprised-The parish priest Antonio Fontes, the driver of Vilar de Perdizes Congress, implores a drink made ​​of brandy burnt with sugar, which promises to amaze all evils. Try it!

Another product associated with Friday the 13th is the famous wine of the dead, produced in the neighboring county of Boticas. In 1807, when French troops invaded Portugal for the second time, the locals hided in the underground wine cellars, on clay, kites and below the mills.

The famous Barroso Portuguese stew, sausages, ham, honey and other delicacies are to be tried in the region.

What to do

  • Visit Miranda do Douro, known for its lively and colorful folklore, which brings out the Pauliteiros, and the Miranda do Douro, a language spoken only in this region
  • Recharge your batteries in the spa area
  • Enjoy the landscape in a hot air balloon ride or if you prefer adrenaline, go paragliding in Serra Larouco

How to get there

To Porto, there are low cost flights, for example, London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris (Beauvais, Orly and Charles de Gaulle Vatry), Marseille, Lille, Tours, St. Etienne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat , Tenerife, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca.

In the summer, there are low cost companies flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.

With normal rates, there are flight connections from London - Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris - Orly.

From the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro, the best way to reach the city center of Porto is by metro. The trip takes about 30 minutes.

Porto, take the A4 towards Amarante and then take the IP4 toward Bragança, in the heart of Trás-os-Montes.

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