The people of the Azores are deeply religious and their faith is expressed in popular festivals that observe age-old traditions.
The most important of these is the Holy Ghost Festival,Festas do Espírito Santo. It originated in the Middle Ages and is celebrated on each of the nine islands (May to September), where it represents the highlight of the local social calendar.
The year’s popular festivals kick off with Mardi Gras,Carnavalon the islands of Graciosa andTerceira, while the main religious event, the Festival of Christ the MiracleWorker,Festas do Senhor Cristo dos Milagres’, takes place on the 5Sunday after Easter on São Miguel island.
In June, St. John’s Festival,Festas Sanjoaninas’, takes place in Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira island, and includes a procession recalling ancient farming traditions.
July sees the Cultural Festival,mana Cultural dasVelas, on São Jorge island, the Emigrants’ Festival,Festa do Emigrante on Flores island, and the St. Mary Magdalene Festival,Festas de Santa Maria Madalena on Pico island.
August is the liveliest month. First, there is the August Pier Festival,Cais de Agosto in São Roque on Pico island, thenFestas da Praia da Vitória on Terceira island.
This is followed by theWeek of the Sea, Semana do Marin Horta on Faial island, the AugustTide Festival,Festival Maré de Agostoon Santa Maria island, and lastly WhalersWeek,Semana dos Baleeiros, featuring colourful whaling-canoe races in Horta, Faial island and Lajes on Pico island.