Dia de Reis Traditions

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Three Wise Men, Collier

Happy Dia de Reis everyone!

Original in Portuguese, Dia de Reis is known in English as Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day. Celebrated a little bit everywhere in the World, in Portugal the traditions are taken very seriously.

This day, January the 6th, officially ends the Christmas festivities. Suposly, this was the day when the Three Wiseman visited baby Jesus and offered him presents. In Portuguese, their names are Baltazar, Belchior and Gaspar.

Note: the last one, is not popular among Portuguese people anylonger… since someone called Vítor Gaspar was the Finance Minister and led the country through a rough moment! xD

Although the festivites end, we end the season, of course, with a big party. The tradition tell us to eat a Bolo Rei – or King Cake. When we were kids, this cake was baked with a fava bean inside or a small gift (usually, a porcelain miniature).

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The Art of Fishing

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Slowly you get to know the best our country has to offer – the wine, the people, and the gastronomy for sure… But we also must not forget something very important and which makes part of our culture, the fishing tradition.

Having the Atlantic Ocean as one of our neighbors and the 3rd biggest Exclusive Economic Zone of Europe – 11th in the World -, made us look at the Sea as way out, as a partner, that would almost provide all the raw materials and food we need, and thus our strong connection with it!

Fishing is an ancient art, and for centuries we see our Men departing to high seas and to return with the goods, result of their hard-work: wide variety of fresh fish, that will turn into a delight on our mouths and satisfy our tummies.

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Backyard Curiosities – The Fishing Tradition || Part II

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Algarve once had a big fishing industry. Actually, since the early period of Time, the Ancient people who lived here (The Lusitanian – Os Lusitanos) had the tradition of fishing, being one of the most important fishing place in the Iberian Peninsula.

But with the beginning of the Discoveries Epoch (1415) and its development, the fishing industry gained an even bigger impulse and became to be the biggest industry of Algarve, not to say, from the entire Portugal.

When Prince D. Henrique (1394 – 1460), The Navigator, decided to stay and live in Lagos (and Sagres, where he actually established a Cosmography school), he had a lot of reasons to do so. He realized that this place was the best to depart with the maritime expeditions to conquer new Worlds. Not only that, he saw a chance to increase the commercial relationships with North Africa and the Mediterranean, due to Algarve’s proximity.

With all the progress of sailing and fishing technologies, the fishing tradition also expanded and became the most precious business for the Portuguese Crown.

The precious gem of that time was the tuna. The tuna had to pass by the South of Portugal to enter in the Mediterranean Sea for the spawning season, making all the coastline a perfect natural trap.

backyard_tours_lagosIt is still possible to see nowadays some fishing activity in Algarve

The tuna was of great quality (and quantity at the begging) and there were no waste, since every part of the tuna was transformed somehow (even the inner-organs).

This was no easy task, and because of that a lot of men were needed to get the job done, becoming the way of survival for many families, the subsistence of our tough ancestors.

(To be continued…)

Backyard Tours Team