Legends and Traditions
The São Vicente county is rich in legends and traditions, stories that cross the time, involved in mysticism as it is of the story tales. On the other hand, traditions remain alive and resist development, sometimes with greater difficulty, and others with the natural ease of something that is rooted in the culture of our people.
The Holy Spirit
The Easter visits, better known as the Holy Spirit visits, begin on the first Sunday after Easter, and take place in the parishes of our county. It is a tradition that evokes the values of the family as well as the Catholic faith, bringing together family and friends in a cheerful conviviality. On the visit goes the priest of the parish and also the party-goer, who takes with him the salver, two people with the flags representing the Holy Spirit, the “saloias”, girls who sing songs announcing the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the musicians, who accompany the “saloias” when singing the melodies.
Sawn the Old Lady
This secular tradition takes place on the 20th day of Lent. Currently only happens at the place of the Primeira Lombada.
Everything happens in the evening, in the old times there was no electric light, people took oil lamps in order to light the way and then the rattles and whelks begun. An old woman and an old man, both masked, head a parade that is followed by people of many ages, equipped with improvised instruments to make a noise, from the drum played with a stick to the bell. What matters is to make noise.
In a ceremony full of symbolism, this coincides with the change from winter to spring, in this ritual of passage the noise is to to ward off all that is old, giving place to the rebirth of the new agrarian year.
This social critique is lived in an environment surrounded by mysticism, involving us in something that does not belong to our day, where we are transported to a distant past, an ancestral tradition of our people.
The Teeter-totter and the Rustic Flute
Typical of the christmas season always occurs in the first octave, December 26, when many people gather, at the place of the Primeira Lombada, to make a “panelo”, traditional games, play the rustic flute and play in the teeter-totter.
The teeter-totter is a "kind of swing formed by two sticks in which one - the “moirão” - sits on the ground, buried at a certain depth so that it remains firm and the other, a kind of curved beam, normally of laurel stick and big dimensions is placed suspended on the “moirão”. At each end of the upper beam sits a player who will alternately push the teeter- totter up and down and also running around the “moirão”, winning the player who show more ability. "(CAMACHO, 1996: 20)
The rustic flute is a small wind instrument, originally made from “cana vieira” which is closely linked to the tradition of the childbirth masses, where it was played to call the parishioners whenever the hour of mass was approaching.
This is one of the main Christmas traditions of our region. They consist of nine masses that announce the birth of Jesus until the novena that precedes Christmas Day.
Songs of this season are sung and after the celebration of the Eucharist a meeting is held in the churchyard, where the traditional Christmas delicacies are shared, to the sound of the characteristic Christmas songs.
Processions and Carpet Flowers
The processions are a parade of worshipers, which takes place during the main religious festivals.
The path through which the procession passes is adorned with flower carpets. These are planted exclusively for this purpose, as it happens in the place of the Primeira Lombada, where thousands of dahlias are planted to adorn the floral carpets of the parish. A custom of many years that above all is an act of faith, which attracts many curious on purpose to admire these authentic works.
The Santa Isabel Tradition
On the first weekend of July, in the parish of Ponta Delgada, people gather to tribute the saint of the poor, Queen Santa Isabel.
The festivities begin on Friday with a contest of foutains, which takes place in each place of the parish, and thus a manifestation of thanks for the solidarity events of Santa Isabel.
The fountains are adorned with flowers, old decorations and baskets with vegetables that serve as the basis for the panelo that takes place on Sunday.
A parade of marches takes place on Saturday and the queen of the winning place is elected.
This is a tradition, in the form of a tribute, that was falling into disuse and was revived by Casa do Povo of Ponta Delgada when the Queen Santa Isabel was designated as patroness of that House of Casa do Povo.
The São Vicente Legend
According to the legend, in one winter night a galleon was shipwrecked in the northern seas of the Island, and the next day an image of S. Vicente was seen to float and to the surprise of the people who had gathered there, above the image there was a raven, which when the statuette struck the shore, flew and disappeared never to be seen again.
The popular ones took the image to a small chapel that existed in the village. where they started to venerate it, in this way, the toponym S. Vicente originated. Still according to the same legend, the image disappeared several times from the altar, going to appear on the rock by the sea where later was built the current chapel, the so-called chapel of São Vincente.
It is said that Vicente was a deacon who preached in Valencia and ended up being arrested being subjected to many types of torture.
After suffering the trials he eventually succumbed and was dragged to a swampy place to feed the animals.
Eventually it was sent to the high seas for devotees to lose their devotion.