Sources of Joy – Days 14 and 15

Festa da São Faustino

It does seem a bit of a cop-out to write about two days together, although it does appeal to the non-conformist part of me.

I love seeing other people working in cooperation with one another, especially when creativity of an ordinary kind produces something beautiful and shared. It is what makes the difference between the first and third photos below:

The plinth covered with greenery only.
The plinth covered with greenery only.
Some of the ladies, taking a well-earned break.
Some of the ladies, taking a well-earned break.
São Faustino, ready for the procession the next day.
São Faustino, ready for the procession the next day.

My weekend was devoted to preparations for and the celebration of the festival in honour of St Faustin, a little-known Saint from Brescia in the north of Italy martyred for his evangelical persistence in the second century AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian.

The reason the little chapel on the hill is named for this Saint goes back to the days when the Moors fought against the Portuguese in these very hills. Forgive the historical vagueness; I should have listened more closely when this story was told to me.  It turns out that one of the dead Portuguese soldiers was carrying the image (i.e. statue) with him in battle. Fat lot of good it did him! The locals took it as a sign that a chapel ought to be erected on the site. The ground is very steep, however, so they decided to build the chapel at the bottom of the hill. I think I was told that the statue itself cracked all by itself (twice), so this was taken as a sign by the locals that they should have followed the original sign and built the chapel on the right spot. So they did, and the current statue used on the plinth yesterday in procession is now 104 years old. It was made in Porto, in the north of the country. None of this brings me joy, but it is always somewhat of a relief to see the image returned safely to the chapel, even though I have no vested interest in it.

After all my exertions on the preparations, I fell into a deep slumber seated in front of the TV for an hour and a half on Saturday evening. What joy that João is now so laid back that she did not wake me as I was drifting off.

On Sunday, the weather was glorious. Here is another photo to prove it:

Carrying the image is no easy task. this is at the start of the procession which goes down a steep hill - and back up again.
Carrying the image is no easy task. this is at the start of the procession which goes down a steep hill – and back up again.

You cannot hear the brass band accompanying the procession, alternating between upbeat and solemn. Apart from the band, the procession is done in silence.

Those who cannot manage the walk watch the procession from above:

One gets a great view of everything from up there.
One gets a great view of everything from up there.

Everyone plays a part in making a happy day of celebration. Cakes and drinks and conviviality afterwards  add to the many things to think about when finally, at the end of the day, rest is most welcome indeed!

Allison

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