WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Our village festivals-

Festival of Santa Agueda e sao Neutel

The ancient old religious festival of Santa Agueda e Sao Neutel. takes place here in our village, this coming weekend.
Many stories are told about saints. Santa Agueda and Sao Nuetel being amongst them. We never really know the true version of how these two people became saints. This Religious catholic ceromony has been celebrated thouought the ages. It is a very special festival for the village people . Each festival and village having their own tradition. This weekend will be one of ours.

After many centuries, the stories and version change. What i do know, is that its a very happy day for everyone in the village.

The ceremony is called " a Romeria" Its when our lady (this case Santa Agueda) is carried by bearers , sometimes women. on a podium full of fresh flowers from the village church to the "ermida" about a 4 kilimeter walk outside of the village.

Whoever wishes to take part in the mass, and the celebration of the saints follow on foot the priest and procession. The mass takes place when Our lady of Agueda has arrived at "ermida.

Vila Nova da Baronia.. The village where i have lived for many years. My home is about 3k out of the central village. If you look closely, you can see our village church in the centre . In 1801 ..the village had 704 habitants. Today there are 2.708 habitants.

Ermida de Santa Agueda.
Hand painted Frescos. The church is only opened once a year for this festival.

Inside the church "ermida"

Ermida de santa agueda
The altar in the church.

One of our village squares. Vila Nova's history is interesting. (wikepedia) if you would like to know more.!

Many of Europe's catholic countries have their traditions and religious ceremonies .. Many of the saints are the same, but celebrated in a different way in each of these countries.

This festival is a time, when everyone comes together. Its a big pic nic.. lots of entertainment.
dance show, traditional singing and music. It really is a happy day.
We do need rain. But we are hoping that the weekend will be sunny. Its wonderful to see all the families enjoying themselves.

Happy wednesday


  1. Hello Val:
    How we should delight in all aspects of this festival for it is, of course, so very different from anything to be found in Great Britain and even here, in Hungary, a largely Catholic country, there really is nothing comparable.

    And how wonderful to have this glimpse into your village which looks and sounds to be delightful, steeped as it so obviously is in so much interesting history [even if the stories are not always the same!!].

  2. Dear Jane and Lance,

    You are always so kind and generous with your comments.
    My village is away from it all. One truly goes back over 50 years here. One of the reasons we chose it.
    The area's history is very interesing.
    so true. The stories are not all the same.. but its an occassion to have a happy day out. You would very much enjoy it. Best wishes to you both there in Budapest. val

  3. Dear Val - it is very interesting to hear about your village festival and to see pictures of the pretty little church. It really is a busy time for you and the village, what with Easter last weekend and then the festival this coming weekend. Will your son and his family be returning from S. Africa soon too?
    Enjoy the weekend and hope that the sun shine for you all.

  4. Val, your village looks beautiful and the frescos in the church are fantastic! What a wonderful festival you will have, so different from here. Our Catholic church here is quite modern and simply furnished - such a different environment for the practice of the same faith.

  5. Hi Val: You have so much beautiful pagentry in your village. Everything sounds exciting and lovely. Hope you have nice weather for the day..Happy Thursday..Judy

  6. Thank you Judy,
    Yes our village has its little ceremonies and traditions..but now is the time here in Europe when the festivities begin.
    A little overcast today.. we do need rain.

  7. Glad you liked the post.
    The new world are very much into minimilization in the churches..South africa was the same.
    I did however enjoy visiting st. Patricks cathedral in New York..a touch of the old world.
    So many changes in the catholic litergy over the years.. but its nice to have a festival.. lots of good fun .
    Thanks Betty

  8. Easter is a busy time. This festival of santa agueda is always following easter..
    I sometimes go, not always. If it rains, I wont be going. and it looks like rain today. Have to see.
    I dont follow the procession. Done it a couple of times.
    Its really nice to be out in the fields and all the people with their pick nicks after the ceremony mass.
    From now on until the end of summer Portugal and Spain have lots of festivities.
    I do like living here in the village. Its away from it all.
    Thank you for your kind comments Rosemary.
    have a wonderful day.

  9. I am Catholic too, and many of the saints I love. My most beloved saint is Saint Jude, and I adore St. Anthony also. I hope you have a wonderful time at the ceremony. Your church looks beautiful. I love the old historic looking churches. When the girls travel, they often go to the old churches that they pass through. The picture of your town looks so charming. I'm not familiar with Saint Agueda, but thank you for sharing a bit about the history.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  10. Hi Sheri,
    Also two of my beloved saints.
    Our main church is in the village.. the photo is of a little ermida..where the monks used to stop and pray centuries ago.. the old church now a ruin is on the other side of the villiage..
    I too love to visit old churches..
    I think saint agueda ..is st.agatha.. patron saint of breast cancer,firemen, and torture..she was tortured.. but like we both know..the church has passed through many changes over the centuries.. story differ from country to country.
    god bless
    thanks for your kind comments.. we hope it wont rain. val

  11. Hi Val. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. The boys are growing up quickly and I am proud of them but I will miss them so much when they are away living their own lives. I guess the oldest already is, but I am blessed to still see him often. I always appreciate your comments.

  12. hiya,
    I've just sent you a message but I guess it's not sent so here I'm postin another one;

    the village is lovely, I wish I'd have a vacation there :) About your comment on my recent post; the blue bead is called 'the evil eye' very popular in turkish culture. It's believed to protect you from bad luck and bad people. Here people hang them to their homes, cars and it's usually used in jewellery. If your son Miguel will come to Turkey this week, request something with an evil eye from him, a keyring, a necklace, a bracelet or something to hang on your door will be nice. They are not expensive and they're sold everywhere.

  13. Yes, its a lovely part of the world Gokce.. who knows!!
    Now that you have explained it. I can remember being told about it by someone years ago.
    Yes, i will ask Miguel to bring me one back.
    Thanks for the info..
    happy friday

  14. Dear Lisa,
    I have 4 of them and I miss them every day.
    Its a blessing when we are able to be with them.
    Thanks for your comments too

  15. Hi there,
    Saw you on Sheri's Red Rose Alley. Thought I would visit a new blog today and pay you a visit. Loved all your photos. I love to visit historic churches! Easter was a special time for us....my daughter in law was baptized and confirmed into the Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. I live in Washington State and made a trip there before Easter and got to attend her last RCIA class with her. They had a pianist playing beautiful songs and we all recited the rosary together. I was happy to be there with my son and his beautiful wife, Amy. They were recently married in November, 2011, so are still newlyweds. It is great that they are attending Church together. A great way to start off their marriage! I enjoyed visiting your blog today. xoxo Kim @ Bluebirds and Butterflies

  16. Hello there Kim,
    What a lovely comments you have left for me.
    I visited a new blog yesterday..
    Am glad you came over to see me.
    I have been to Houston a couple of Times. What a lovely story .. My middle son Miguel visits washington.. he has friends that live near Annapolis.
    I wish your son and wife Amy all the best.
    I will pop over to see you and follow you.
    Sheri has a lovely post with her girls too.
    best wishes

  17. Your church is so beautiful, Val! I hope you enjoyed the Festival. It sounds lovely. We used to have May festivals when I was a child, and we would place flowers on the altar of the Virgin Mary. (Sometimes we were very naughty and took flowers from gardens on our way to school .. especially the lilacs that hung down over people's fences!) In some cities further north of me, they still carry the statues of the saints through the streets during their festivals, with flower garlands and singing. It's a beautiful sight.

  18. Thank you Haworth

    The festival is this weekend. Its started raining.
    nice comments. enjoy your weekend.

  19. These photos of the church, frescos and the village square are so beautiful Val. It really is wonderful to see your countrymen/women upholding time honoured and sacred traditions.

  20. Dear Val,

    I hope you are well. I have been so busy since coming back from Italy, I've not been able to post!

    I find your blog very interesting, Val, as it gives us an idea of how beautiful Portugal is!

    I love the blue sky, the buildings, the colours and the traditions!

    This is a country with should all get to know a bit more! Especially people in UK!

    Lots of hugs from



  21. Hello Anna,
    so nice to see you back again. missed you.
    I do hope that you spent a special time in your beloved Italy.
    Unfortunately its raining. So there will be a lot of umbrellas about tomorrow for the prcession..starts at
    5 in the afternoon.
    There is a dance in the village hall tonight. For the young folk.

  22. I have missed looking at posts for a few days, so am catching up now.
    These photos are beautiful, Val. So much tradition in these old European towns and villages. I love to learn about them.
    Our country is a very old one, but very new in European settlement. The Aboriginal people have been here thousands of years and their culture is very different and very interesting.
    I appreciate all of your comments on my blog, thank you.


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