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Legends and Traditions

Douro region is a land that remains faithful to its roots, preserving centuries-old traditions. The religious pilgrimages, the dialects and the legends are all part of the region’s history.

Pauliteiros de Miranda | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzPeople of different ages play concertina | © Museu do DouroRancho en route to the terraces | © Museu do DouroDonkey in Sendim, Miranda do Douro | © Centro Nacional de Cultura, António CruzMan and his concertina | © Museu do DouroOld pots used for cooking | © Turismo do DouroThe rooster is a symbol of tradition and connection to the popular roots | © Turismo do Douro

These traditions and legends blended with reality and illustrate the lives of the region’s inhabitants today. In the lands of the Douro you will hear strange dialects that survived to this day, passed down from parents to their children, such as the Mirandês. This is, in fact, the second official language in Portugal, although it is only spoken in the Douro region.

The people of the Douro have a unique character rooted in the past and their history resulted in a variety of customs and traditions that vary from village to village. On the cliffs of the Douro the Pauliteiros de Miranda dance to the sound of bagpipes and bass drums. To the South, the church hymns cradle the procession of candles. The Entrudo (Shrovetide) is celebrated in Freixo de Espada à Cinta, while in the village of Lazarim, in Lamego, the caretos (young men wearing colourful masks which represent devilish creatures) go looking for young girls, and pretend to punish them.

Everywhere in the Douro you will hear about the stories of Moorish princesses, knights, witches and werewolves. These tales have lasted through the centuries and have made the Douro’s imagination tremendously rich.

When you hear the people of the Douro, their stories and beliefs, their superstitions and rituals, you will understand how powerful the heritage of the Douro is.

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