Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/154

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1 38 Folklore of the Azores.

They are said to have been instituted in A.D. 1300 by good Queen Isabella, wife of King Dom Diniz, but are no longer kept up on the Portuguese mainland. They take place generally afte r Ascension Day, on the two Sundays before Trinity Sunday. Every village has a square stone building, sometimes more than one, open in front and on the sides, generally 10 feet by 8, supported on pillars and raised three or four feet above the road. This building is called the Theatro, or theatre, and is where the Emperor or Empress of the festival (a child chosen the preceding year), sits after the coronation ceremony. Lots are drawn by the villagers, and the fortunate ones have the flag and crown in their house for a week each, beginning on Easter Sunday ; the one who gets the Coronation Sunday keeping them the rest of the time. They are supposed to bring a blessing on the house, and it is held a great privilege to have them. While they are there, a sort of high altar is erected in one of the rooms, which is much decorated, and on it are placed the silver crown and sceptre with the dove, and on one side of it the flag, which is of crimson brocade with the dove surmounted by a crown worked on it in gold,^ According to lots drawn, different people give bread, meat, wine, &c. This is all blessed by the parish priest on the Friday. After that ceremony ox-carts, decorated in front with a great erection of flowers, go round to the houses of the gentry who have subscribed, and present them with wine, bread, meat, cakes, and sometimes z.fugaga (a sugar doll with curls and hair made of rebugados, something like barley sugar). The remainder of the offerings is collected and placed on decorated tables in the Dispensa, or larder, which is illuminated and adorned with flags, flowers, and green boughs, crowds coming to visit it. The crimson flag with the dove is placed in a prominent position. The next day, Saturday, long tables are put along the decorated

' A sketch of one of these cottage altars is given in Bullar's IVinter in the Azores (1841), vol. ii., p. 179.