Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Gate

Arcos de Valdevez
Description

The primitive façade of the “Misericórdia” Mercy Church, had a niche with an image of Our Lady of Mercy made out of stone that the people began to affectionately call of “Senhora da Porta” (Lady of the Door/Gate). In 1733, due to the bad state the frontispiece was in, the Administrative Bureau decided to do renovation work; the Archbishop of Braga having been informed, in 1735, the construction of an altar in front on the porch begun, asking for the Fellowship permission to bless and pray mass on it.

Every year, at the beginning of September, a novena is celebrated in honour of our Lady of the Door, consecrating the seventh day in its honour, day opening at night, with lighting and a mass celebration. The devotion that the population of the municipality demonstrated towards the image, was expressed in the huge amount of wax, clothes, cereals, animals and gold pieces that were offered to Our Lady of the Door as payment for promises. Due to late 19th century budgetary constraints the festivities honouring Our Lady of the Door were abandoned.

In 2010, the Brotherhood has taken over the tradition by arranging, on the third weekend of September, a popular nature party, trying to re-enact the cheerful and spontaneous atmosphere of Alto Minho ancient festivals.

Therefore, besides savouring the good gastronomy and tasting the region new wine, you may assist to the pilgrim’s arrival with their offerings destined to the Lady, you can then share the enthusiastic effusion of joy and end all running through the night until dawn in one of the various folkloric dances organized by the parishes groups.

 

Location: Arcos de Valdevez
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