21 Jan 2015

Afurada | Identity Window

Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

“The communities that inhabit place, especially when they are traditional societies, should be intimately associated in the safeguarding of its memory, vitality, continuity and spirituality” Québec Declaration, Preamble, Canada, October 4th 2008

Uniting the Parishes of Santa Marinha and São Pedro da Afurada, whilst belonging to the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal), the place of Afurada is located on the left bank of the River Douro, very close to its mouth. It thus lies at a pivotal point between Póvoa do Varzim and Aveiro, two important centres of fishing activity. Afurada’s location, facing the mouth of the river with its waterfront cliffs, led to it being seen as the Douro’s main means of communication with the outside world. This exhibition aims primarily to honour the commitment made to the local community and commend all those who over 9 months (Sep 2014 to June 2015) contributed to the collection of images in order to enhance the local culture. More than an exhibition, the collection and subsequent presentation of these pictures, invites the visitor to have look at how the Festival of São Pedro da Afurada has dealt with issues of continuity and disruption over the years. A winding journey that has constantly been built and shaped by the will of this fishing community. The moments shown in the pictures selected have been re-interpreted by framing the photographs within the actual, present-day landscape.

Afurada lies at a pivotal point between Póvoa do Varzim and Aveiro, two important centres of fishing activity.

Afurada’s geographical location and its dominant occupation put its people at great risk

Such catastrophes inflicted by nature on maritime communities foster religious fervour.

The presence of the fishing community gives a unique identity to the townscape of the riverside.

Festival of S. Pedro Afurada
The Festival of São Pedro dates back to the early 20th century and is closely related to the cultural and religious identity of the fishing community of Afurada, playing an important role in its collective memory, as can be seen through its involvement in this holy event. The annual festival in honour of S. Pedro da Afurada lasts 11 days on average and takes place in late June and early July, that being the time of the procession in celebration of São Pedro which is held on the first Sunday after June 29 (St Peter’s Day). This festival takes places not only to provide a mark of identity for the people of Afurada, but also as a cause for them to celebrate their strongest characteristic, which gave rise to the very existence of their community. Given its geographical location and ever since urban development of this area of Vila Nova de Gaia began, fishing activity has flourished in this place. With a lifestyle subject to so many risks, the town’s folk have sought the aid of their faith and it was in this context that the Festival of São Pedro da Afurada arose. The great devotion that this people have for their patron saint of St Peter is reflected in a grand celebration as a means of giving thanks for his protection and all the graces received throughout the year. This devotion to St Peter recurs in the coastal regions of northern Portugal, and he is the patron of over thirty churches between the Douro and the Mondego, and about 100 more across the country, such as in Espinho and Póvoa do Varzim.

The religious parade for the Festival of São Pedro da Afurada is an event in which the whole community participates, and it is treated as a solemn spectacle to be valued both aesthetically and for its human wealth.

The procession of São Pedro da Afurada sets off from the churchyard, and people join it as the litters pass through the streets.

Among them are celebratory flags depicting the holy figure to which they refer, and also children wearing costumes personifying saints, dressed as fishermen or wearing other special clothes such as those worn to celebrate their First Communion.

As an invocation, there now stands in this spot a bronze replica of the figure of São Pedro, which the chapel was also dedicated to.

An important site in the community, for the symbolism it entails.

In these communities attached to fishing activity, in most cases, the time for the mooring of vessels is the most important festival time.

In communities linked to fishing activity, the space set aside for the mooring of vessels is seen as the nerve centre of festivity.

As is to be expected, this wealth is mirrored in the festivities of devotional splendour, but this spirit of pomp and ceremony is spread equally among individuals and throughout the population as if in a grand competition to award the amount of effort put into decorating the balconies and litters.

Credits: Story

COORDENAÇÃO | COORDINATION: Lúcia Rosas (FLUP) e Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP)

SCIENTIFIC COMMISSION : Lúcia Maria Cardoso Rosas (FLUP), Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP) e Hugo Barreira (FLUP)

CURATORS : Lúcia Maria Cardoso Rosas (FLUP), Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP), Hugo Barreira (FLUP)

PRODUCTION UNIT : Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP), Hugo Barreira (FLUP)

TECHNICAL TEAM: Cátia Oliveira; Bruno Caprichoso

AUTHORS: Cátia Oliveira



Cátia Oliveira;
DroneVision – Bruno Caprichoso;
Carminda Rola, Lurdes Rola, Joaquim Marques, Rosa Raquel, Lola Papeira,

OLIVEIRA, Cátia - Afurada | Âncora de Identidades. Relatório de Estágio no Mestrado em Historia da Arte Portuguesa apresentado à Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto. Porto, 2015

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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