Lost in the details of the plateau, the village of Atilhó is found, isolated in the mountains. Granite has a strong presence in buildings and high walls dividing agricultural land. The buildings distribute themselves comfortably on the narrow streets. The small dimensions of the windows denounce the low temperatures of the place.
Every year, on the Sunday following the saint’s day, the Santo António Chapel is at the top of Monte Galhado, one of the most exciting celebrations in honor and praise of Saint Anthony – the protector of cattle and fields.
On that day, before the appointed time for the religious celebration, all the farmers send their cattle to Monte Galhado, in the surroundings of the chapel, which at the top watches the village, the fields and the daily toil of the farmers.
While the pastor celebrates mass, the cattle wait patiently, grazing, walking, or simply lying down. It is said, the inhabitants of Atilhó, that only this day they are so patient and easy to keep.
After Mass, the procession begins around the chapel, leading the faithful with the processional implements, the flag and the andor, followed by the parish priest and the community of the faithful. Songs and prayers are dedicated to the Saint. After the religious celebration they return home, directing the animals to the pastures.
Then the party goes on in the village. At night a popular village, animated by a musical group, followed by a spectacle of fireworks, ends the celebrations.
The day of this celebration depends on the schedule of the celebrations in honor of Saint Anthony in Alturas do Barroso, parish headquarters, always taking place the following Sunday to these.
At 14.8 km (23 minutes by car) from the county seat via, route R311 (direction Salto) and M520.
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Source: Associação de Municípios do Alto Tâmega 2007, Atlas/ Guia das Rotas do Alto Tâmega, Chaves. / Photography: TR