Festa de Sao Goncalo is not held in Porto proper, but in Amarante, a locality situated some 50 kilometers east of Porto. The trip is worth making by people who happen to spend their holiday in Porto in the first weekend of June, in particular due to the fact some rather peculiar practices are occasioned, traditionally, by this festival, chiefly described as a religious celebration with profound pre-Christian implications substantiated by the fertility rituals observed even at present by attendants.

Thus, the festival concentrates around the two places of worship dedicated to the saint in Amarante: the Church of Sao Goncalo and the Chapel of Sao Goncalo. Inside the church, unmarried people go and touch the tomb of the saint, given the word goes that this gesture brings luck to one’s future love live, thus speeding up the coming of the future marriage. On top of that, the yet-to-be-married exchange cakes shaped such as to call forth the phallic organ (this is, perhaps, one of the curiosities of the festival), a gesture said to symbolize people’s affection for their dear ones.

The chapel is home to yet other strange practices: people enter the edifice with wax models of sundry body parts, with prostheses even, hoping their gesture will cure them of whatever medical condition they suffer. Other strange offerings have been known to be brought in time to the chapel.

Festa de Sao Goncalo
Amarante, Portugal
first weekend of June

Amarante, Portugal

Amarante, Portugal

Go to top