Customs and Traditions in the Algarve

As with most things, the Algarve is also rich in traditions. This region has many welcoming facets, including the colourful folklore, the laced chimneys and, of course, the glorious beaches.

Also important in the customs of this region are the manufacture of wicker baskets and pottery, the Dom Rodrigos (almond sweets), the fishing art (mainly seen in Olhão), the popular saints celebrations, the groups of Charolas (popular musicians groups) and the delicious gastronomy!

On the first day of every year people sing the Janeiras (New Years carols), a mix of popular songs and religious themes.
Also peculiar are the traditional games and the Maios. Maio means May in English, so this celebration takes place on the 1st of May. On this special occasion you will be able to attend some Maios balls and see human sized dolls made of clothes, representing local personalities and their professions or habits as a satire.

Fifty years ago there was no dance ball in the Algarve without the corridinho (local folklore), the famous tango, waltz, fox trot and slow music.

In summer going to the beach was far different from today. Not many people visited the beach and the ones who did, usually went early just to have a swim and catch cockles.
There was also a thing called the “29th Bath”. For some reason, on every 29th of August, men and women came to the beach and spent the day there. When nightfall arrived, fires were made and holding each others hands, men and women headed to the sea for a swim. Men wore long pants and women night dresses. When the swim was over everyone had supper, sang songs and went back home. It was also usual for the city boys to hide behind the sand dunes, waiting to see a girl coming out of the water with her wet nightdress clinging tightly to her body.

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