Our Lady of Nazare Festival

Our Lady of Nazaré Festival

September 8-18
NazarÉ has been called "the most picturesque town in Portugal," and thousands of tourists flock here every summer to paint, film, and photograph the quaint fishing village. The Church of Our Lady of Nazareth was built near the place where the Virgin Mary is said to have saved the life of Fuas Roupinho, who was pursuing a white deer when a sudden sea mist arose and caused him to lose his bearings. The Virgin halted his horse in its tracks—a hoof-print is still visible—and, as the mist cleared, Roupinho discovered that he was on the brink of a cliff, 300 feet above the ocean. Today the town is built on two levels, the lower one extending along the beach. A pilgrimage chapel overlooks the town from the upper level.
The name NazarÉ comes from a statue of the Virgin brought back here from Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, by a monk in the fourth century. The annual 10-day festival that takes place in the town's main square begins on September 8, the anniversary of the miracle, and includes bullfights, musical concerts, and folk dancing.
Some of the best and most dangerous fishing in all of Portugal goes on here. Fishermen have to negotiate a treacherous barrier reef with a difficult swell that often capsizes entire boats with their crews. Therefore, the NazarÉ fishermen, who carry the Virgin's statue on their shoulders in three festive processions, are the focus of the event.
CONTACTS:
Leiria Fatima Tourism Region
Jardim Luis de Camoes Apartado 1115
Leiria, 2401-801 Portugal
351-244-848-770; fax: 351-244-848-779
www.rt-leiriafatima.pt/site/frontoffice/default.as
SOURCES:
FestWestEur-1958, p. 184
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