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In Viana do Castelo, in Northern Portugal, Nossa Senhora da Agonia Festival

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From August 20-24, 2014, the streets of Viana do Castelo will fill for the traditional Nossa Senhora da Agonia festivals. This religious festival, one of the oldest and most distinctive festivals of Northern Portugal, attracts many people to this city over the five days.

The day of Nossa Senhora da Agonia, patron saint of fishermen, is celebrated on August 20th, with the Procession to the Sea being the high point of the festivities and a testimony of religious devotion. During these days, the streets of Viana do Castelo are adorned with floral carpets. The ethnographic aspect of Minho is also touched upon in this festival. It is tradition to wear bride costumes, “mordoma” and “lavradeira” costumes, which the Minho locals wear on festival days to beautify themselves and the city and to teach a little more about the ethnographic history of Viana do Castelo. They also display beautiful gold ornaments on their chests.

But the party continues with the liveliness of drums and concertinas that encourage everyone to dance, especially the locals who perform the region’s traditional dances. All festivities encompass the Agonia Church, created in 1674 in honor of the fishermen. This festival was established in 1772 out of the devotion for the seamen coming home from Galicia and around the Portuguese coast, and for religious and pagan celebrations. 

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