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Easter in Castelo de Vide

Easter in Castelo de Vide
Place: Castelo de Vide
Easter in Castelo de Vide
Easter in Castelo de Vide is one of the major local events and is of special interest due to the way it intermingles Catholic traditions with aspects of Jewish culture, in turn, highlighting the town's past history. The celebrations are broken up into two stages: from Palm Sunday through to Good Friday and then from that evening through to Easter Monday, when celebrations most clearly demonstrate their Jewish antecedents. The traditions are still kept up even if for many of those involved there no longer is the initial religious meaning.

On Palm Sunday, there is the Blessing of the Palms and the Procession of Our Lord. On the Thursday, mass is dedicated to the Lord's Last Supper with the Solemn Offering of Wine, Wax and Wheat for the celebration of Holy Mass throughout the rest of the year. Throughout the night, the Sacrament is worshiped. Good Friday sees celebration of the Passion of our Lord, with the Adoration of the Holy Cross and the holding of Communion and late in the afternoon there is the Burial Procession of Our Lord.

On Easter Saturday there is the traditional Blessing of the Lambs with shepherds taking over the centre of the town along with their flocks so they can be blessed before being sold. Animals bought on this day are killed in line with Jewish practices although many carry out the slaughter on the previous day prior to sun set as is set down in the Scriptures. The animals are left by the door of the house with the skins being cleaned and sold on to local artisans. They also serve as the highlight of rich Easter dining to mark the end of fasting throughout Lent.

At night, there is the Easter Vigil with the Blessing of the New Light and the Baptismal Water, the Eucharist and the Resurrection of Our Lord is announced. On leaving church, there is a most interesting tradition. Some people will approach and ask, in secret, for forgiveness, in a tradition that recalls the Jewish festival of Pardon, known as Kippur. At the end of mass, the Alleluia Procession begins inside the Matrix Church before heading out onto the main streets accompanied by a philharmonic band and the church bells. This is one of the high points in the entire Easter festival as all those participating take along castanets and bells that they ring in accompaniment to the procession.

Easter Sunday begins with the Resurrection Procession with its long established routing and hierarchy. It involves various local associations and institutions in addition to some of the longest standing (carpenters, cobblers, ironsmiths, stone masons, etc) as well as more recent professions. Mass in the Matrix Church closes celebrations. It is then the congregation makes its donations to help cover the costs of Holy Week.

Easter Monday is a municipal holiday in Castelo de Vide to commemorate the Festival of Our Lady of Light. The morning mass is held in the Church of Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of Light) and in the afternoon, the Band tours the town inviting the people over to the celebration where there is the Ramos market and bar.

Throughout Holy Week, the Municipal Council puts on a wide range of activities and special events.


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