Festa de São João, Aldeia de João Pires, Central Portugal
Festa de São João, or the festival of Saint John the Baptist, is a festival that happens every year during Midsummer, on the of 23 June. The whole of Portugal, and Europe, celebrates; none more so than the city of Porto, who’s infamous celebration has roots in pagan courtship rituals, where you hit each other either with garlic flowers or soft plastic hammers!
The São João celebration in our small village in Central Portugal was a slightly more subdued affair. The main attraction was freshly barbequed sardines, delicious smoky sardinhas delivered by the multitude. Accompanied by the finest bread, potatoes and a tomato, onion and roasted green pepper salad. The food just kept on coming…as did the wine!
The boys were in their element and devoured the feast. Chaos was reluctant to try the sardines at first but enjoyed them once they were fillited. Mayhem grabbed handfuls of extra bread and ran off with his prize to make sure he didn’t have to share. After eating three sardines, lots of bread and potatoes it’s surprising he even had room for the watermelon dessert. Oh and then on to the salon for coffee and cake.
Whilst our village festa was nowhere near as ostentatious as the bigger cities in Portugal, it was so very special. The food and drink was free, provided by the village, and we could not have wanted for more; Our family was welcomed by everyone. A wonderful opportunity to share lunch and celebrate with our neighbours and local community.
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