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Festival of Our Lady of Agony in Viana do Castelo, 2015

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In August, the roads of devotion lead to Viana do Castelo and the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Agony. The most important pilgrimage in Portugal will take the streets of Viana do Castelo between August 20th and 23rd, and again it promises the usual agitation and a parade featuring the most ancient traditions in northern Portugal.

On the first day, August 20th, Thursday, the "Flower Carpets" on the streets of Ribeira and the procession of Our Lady to the Lima river and the Sea mark the beginning of these traditional festivities. The Pilgrimage highlights follow one another over the four days, with a special focus of the Procession to the Sea, which will take place also on August 20th, the "Mordomia" Parade (21st), the Ethnographic Parade (22nd) and also the Solemn Procession in honor of Our Lady of Agony (23rd).

Ethnography has an important place in the Ethnographic Parades and the Garment Festival. The grand fireworks serenade lights up the entire city, starting with Gustave Eiffel's bridge, then the Castle of Santiago da Barra, and finally the Sanctuary of Monte de Santa Luzia.

Worship origins

Fishermen have been praying to the Virgin for a "good sea" since the 18th century. The worship of Our Lady of Agony began when the icon entered the Chapel of Bom Jesus, in 1751 , and in 1783 the Sacred Congregation of Rites granted a special license for this chapel to celebrate a Solemn Mass every year on August 20th, a day that the city of Viana do Castelo elected as a municipal holiday. In the 19th century, the Procession turns into something more than a religious festival, with the inclusion of a fair and several recreational activities.

The "Garment Festival", another highlight of the festivities, began in the 20th century, in 1931. Here, girls wear the most beautiful, rich and colorful traditional bride, "mordoma" and peasant garments, as well as gorgeous pieces in filigree, known as Viana Gold. The Ethnographic Parade, the "gigantones" parades and the grand firework Serenade complete the festivities, which are repeated every year.

Be sure to visit other parts of the city

No matter how great the bustle is, make time to visit the Sanctuary of Monte de Santa Luzia. The construction of the magnificent Basilica of Santa Luzia, which overlooks the city, began in 1903 and was completed in 1943. The view is an absolute must.

At the table, it is a sin not to try the "Pé Descalço" cock rice or the "Pica no Chão", the Minho style "Rojões" and the Minho style Octopus Rice, as well as the "Margarida da Praça", "Gil Eanes", "Zé do Pipo" or "Camelo" cod dishes.

Make the most of the season to visit Minho and get to know northern Portugal's traditions. If you want to add a regional tour to your visit of the Our Lady of Agony Pilgrimage , please contact us. We are here to help you make the most of Porto and North of Portugal.

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