Eduardo Leal

Documentary Photographer
   
St. Bartolomeu
Location: Porto
Nationality: Portuguese
Biography: Eduardo Leal is a Portuguese documentary photographer usually based in Macau, China. Previously he worked for several years in South America. He graduated in Journalism at Escola Superior de Jornalismo (ESJ) and has a Masters in Photojournalism... MORE
Public Story
St. Bartolomeu
Copyright Eduardo Leal 2022
Date of Work Aug 2010 - Sep 2011
Updated Dec 2017
Topics Black and White, Celebrations, Christianity, Community, Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism, Religion, Travel

Every year on 24 August, faith and tradition join thousands of people at the feast of St. Bartolomeu do Mar, for an unusual ritual that mixes the sacred and the profane. A tradition that dates back to the sixteenth century (1566), and it claims the devil is on the loose during this day.

Children and parents carry a black hen or chicken for three laps around the Church, and pass as many times under the litter and then go to the beach to dive in the waves in an odd number of three, five, seven or nine times, called "holy bath" that drives away evil and cure diseases related with "demonic possession", such as stuttering or epilepsy.

Later during the day, follows a procession to thank the Saint, which is known to be "one of the most impressive" of northern Portugal. Although the route is short "less than two miles from the beach and return to the church" always takes two to three hours, incorporating hundreds of extras and large litters, which reconstruct biblical episodes.

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