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The Douro is a region of legends & traditions which nowadays have blended with day to day life and reflect in the culture of this region. It is normal to hear dialects spoken in the Douro which have survived being passed on from generation to generation. Mirandesa is an example, Portugal’s second official language, yet it can only be heard in the Douro.
People from the Douro have their own special character, as a result of their experiences, upbringing and history, resulting in different customs depending on the village where they were brought up.
Many traditions still prevail today. For example, in the northern mountainous region of the Douro, you can watch Mirandesa folk dancers performing to the sounds of bag pipes and drums, whilst in the south, you’ll hear church hymns accompanied by candlelight processions. In the town of ‘Freixo de Espada à Cinta’ visitors can take part in the dramatic Carnival finale (‘Enterro do Entrudo’), a street party dating back to Pagan times, whilst in the village of Lazarim in Lamego, the same festival reenacts a Celtic ritual where they adorn wooden demon masks, thought to have been a quest for spiritual regeneration.
It is normal to hear imaginary tales of Moorish princesses, knights, witches and warewolves, all across the Douro, enchanting stories from years ago which have stood the test of time and continue to contribute to the wealth of imagination and rich tapestry to be found amongst the people of the Douro Valley.