‘I am a beautiful Maia’

Ist May in Portugal is Labour Day and a National Holiday. It’s also traditionally a day for warding off evil spirits with sprigs of yellow broom, wedged into doors and windows. I can’t say that I’ve observed this particular custom, but the scarecrows that adorn some of our villages always make me smile. This year we went to Manta Rota in the Algarve to join in the fun.

Among others we spotted a bride, a fireman, a nurse, village gossips, a fisherman, a cobbler, a rugmaker, a gardener with very wonky glasses, school children, a witch and some lovers. Each had a tale to tell, though it wasn’t always easy to decipher the Portuguese. They represent a lot of effort and a lovely sense of humour. It’s nice that old traditions like these are still maintained. I remember that, on May Day in our local village in the UK, Morris Dancing was a popular part of the festivities. Hope you had a good one!

Writing this I couldn’t help but remember how much joy Becky took in festivities here. This year is a very sad one for her and her family, but here’s a reminder of happier times. Thinking of you, hon!

On Monday I’ll continue my walks with a very different aspect of Braga.

61 thoughts on “‘I am a beautiful Maia’

  1. There’s nothing better than being able to experience local traditions up close and personal. It looks like Portuguese people really put their hearts and souls into making the most of their celebrations 🙂 Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day. I hope all is well 🙂 Aiva xx


  2. Fun pics! The gallery format works well on your theme. We loved the Kettlewell festival too and my sweetheart has a thing about Morris dancing, so we go to Saddleworth Rushcart if we can. It’s such very sad news about Mr B.


    • So often here it’s simple pleasures and entertainment, Debbie.It doesn’t cost much but a lot of thought and effort has gone into it. On Sunday we were walking up at one of the hill villages and they had craft stalls and music afterwards. It was all about good food and family, with very little cost. We joined in and had another lovely day.


  3. Since we lived a few decades in California, Cinquo de Mayo is what we still celebrate (with delicious Mexican food of course). Wos, your post, Jo, the works! More recently my walks are short and a specific part of now:Austin, Texas. It’s already in the 90ties, which keeps me from wanting to explore.



  4. They really put their heart and soul into these festivals Jo ! I’m imagining quite a few hours or days even of family fun round the table recycling garments …and stitching ? or are those comical expressions hand drawn ? It would be nice if the tradition was carried on but gather from your earlier comment maybe it will dwindle … that would be a shame .


    • The faces are mostly hand drawn, Poppy. As we wandered, looking, a lady opened her window and started to tell us a little about a grandmother in the village who spends many hours creating and then positioning the scarecrows. I could have wished to be her granddaughter but my skills are extremely limited! I’m just browsing the Reader, hon, before I put up today’s walk. Have a lovely week!


    • Thanks, Mari! We were up in the hills today at another local festival, following a hot but very beautiful walk. There is so much to enjoy here. Hope you’re doing ok?


    • It’s one of many reasons for living here, Graham. They do know how to enjoy themselves, often without spending much money. I’m off to a Caracois festival today. Snails, though I shan’t be eating any.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These are great – it’s lovely to see the tradition maintained. I’ve been to a scarecrow festival in Yorkshire in the past, but there it’s a festival in itself, not linked to any more significant date like this.
    I had a look at Becky’s old post too. I’ve been wondering how she’s doing and I thought you might have heard. Such a dreadfully sad thing to have happened.


    • The one in Kettlewell is fabulous!
      I wasn’t sure about putting the link in, Sarah. It’s all so raw for her. We were in Olhão on Wednesday and couldn’t help but think about them. 🤗💟


  6. Here in SA, it’s also a public holiday … but I always thought it’s just a holiday to give us a break from work! Reading your post, it seems there’s much more to the 1st of May than what I originally thought 😄. Love your photo’s (and your descriptions) – great that there goes so much effort into celebrating this day!


    • It’s fun, isn’t it? I used to love Kettlewell and the scarecrow festivals back in the UK.
      I hope Becky won’t mind the inclusion of hers. I was in 2 minds. Say hello for me if you’re talking today. Sending hugs 🤗❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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