St. Vincent's Day

St. Vincent's Day

January 22
São Vicente is the patron saint of Lisbon, Portugal. St. Vincent of Saragossa was a deacon who was arrested along with Bishop Valerius. While Valerius was banished, Vincent was tortured and martyred in Spain under Diocletian's authority around the year 304. According to legend, his body was thrown to be devoured by vultures, but it was defended by a raven. Then his body was cast into the sea, but it came to shore and was buried.
St. Vincent's feast day is January 22. In Lisbon, people celebrate St. Vincent's Day with processions and prayers. But in the surrounding rural areas, there are a number of folk traditions associated with this day. Farmers believe that by carrying a resin torch to the top of a high hill on January 22, they can predict what the coming harvest will be like. If the wind extinguishes the flame, the crops will be abundant; if the torch continues to burn, a poor growing season lies ahead.
CONTACTS:
Portuguese National Tourist Office
590 Fifth Ave., 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10036
800-767-8842 or 212-354-4403; fax: 212-764-6137
www.visitportugal.com
SOURCES:
FestWestEur-1958, p. 161
OxYear-1999, p. 45
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