Feast of S. Sebastião in Alturas do Barroso

January 20

Legend has it that this festival was started because of a plague that many years ago killed a lot of cattle. The inhabitants of the village then promised to celebrate S. Sebastião (St. Sebastian), an advocate against hunger and plague.

This party is organized by mordomos (4 or 5 neighbors) in a system of rotation by the houses of the village. In the old days, it was customary to give people bread and wine to eat. Approximately 15 years ago they also started offering feijoada in the late afternoon and since then their size and their fame has been growing. Before the feast, butlers go through the village to collect the contribution that each of the houses wants to offer, from the smokemeat to the pork (foot and chest) and money with which to buy various foods like rice, beans, bread and wine.

 

 

In the morning, around 10:30 a mass is celebrated in honor of S. Sebastião, at the end of which a procession is made, with the image of the saint parading through the main streets of the village to the place of the party. Songs and prayers are sung asking for the protection of the saint or thanking for the blessings granted. Arriving at the party site, the priest blesses the food, especially the bread that will later be distributed by the faithful “… who then eat it or give it to animals to be free of disease.” The andor with the saint is placed on a table at the entrance of the room, where, as patron, he presides over the meal.

 

Source and photography: CMB

 


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