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Religious Holidays Celebrated in Azores

The Azores is a group of nine islands positioned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Inhabited by many Portuguese people, the religious influences of Roman Catholicism are strong. Associated traditions and religious holidays reflect such beliefs. In this article, you will learn about some of the observances celebrated in the Azores, such as the Holy Ghost Festival.

Holy Ghost Festival

The Holy Ghost Festival (also known as Festa do Divino Espirito Santo) is a festival that gives the title of “empress or emperor for the day” to one local poor person. Crowned and escorted through the streets, the individual is led to a local church where mass is held. The festivities then shift to the local fellowship hall, where they dine on a special meal consisting of “Holy Ghost Soup.” Sweet bread called Pao Doce is also served. After the feast, people start to dance and have fun. Typically, this festival is held seven weeks after Easter.

Festival of the Christ of Miracles

One of the largest religious festivals in the Azores is the “Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres,” which translates into the Festival of the Christ of Miracles. Taking place on the fifth Sunday after Easter in Sao Miguel, people gather in the city of Ponta Delgada to watch the parading around of a statue of the Christ. The image is then returned to the convent at Esperança. The festival also includes street booths, fair activities, and other outlets for fun.

Our Lady of Assention Festival

The largest festival in Santa Maria blends contemporary and religious themes , paying homage to the patron saint, Our Lady of Assention. People gather at Vila do Porto on August 15 to celebrate.

Saint John Festivals (Sanjoaninas)

Known as Sanjoaninas by the people of Terceiras, the festivals of Saint John takes place in June, honoring the the patron saint of the island of Terceira. Most of the festivities are held in the city of Angra do Heroisimo. Every day, there are marches, parades, and other activities that reflect the folklore and culture of the region. For example, decorating cars is a popular way to celebrate the holiday.

Lady of Flores Festival & Holy Ghost Festival

One of the largest festivals in the Azores that celebrates the Holy Ghost, people in Flores decorate the streets with flowers and other colorful symbols of the culture. An impressive presentation of crowns also takes place during the festivities. Another festival that takes place on the island of Flores is the Lady of Flores Festival , held in Matos Chapel.

To learn about other festivals that occur throughout the year in Portugal, read the articles titled, “Religious Holidays in Portugal,” which touch upon Easter traditions, as well as commemorations of saints.