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The São João d’Arga Festival in Minho

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The São João d’Arga Festival, which takes places from August 28-29, 2014, is responsible for the flood of thousands of pilgrims brought every year to Serra de Arga, in Arga de Baixo, located in Alto Minho, in Northern Portugal. On the night of August 28th to the 29th, a big party takes place with lots of entertainment.

The pilgrims, some with the intention of attending the party, others with the intention of making a vow and attending the religious ceremonies, stay overnight outside of the São João d’Arga Monastery. The trademark of this religious festival are the concertina players and the player competitions, which can be heard until the early morning hours.

Walking to São João d’Arga is one of this festival’s traditions. The group departs from Vila Praia de Âncora, and there are even organized groups that keep this tradition alive, covering several kilometers on foot. Another tradition of this festival is linked to the single individuals: they go to the top of the mountain, to the “wedding rock”, which, according to legend, can “find a lid for any pot”. Interesting, right?

Another interesting fact about this festival is that those who attend often leave alms for the devil. Yes, the devil. Under the horse hoof of the S. Miguel statue, there is a dragon figure, which represents the devil. The pilgrims leave alms for this image so that the “beast” does not resent the lack of attention and make “mischief” throughout the year.

The São João de d’Arga Festival is a religious festival full of very distinctive traditions and rituals that will make your journey through Alto Minho a simply unique experience. Mark it on your calendar! #meetinporto

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