Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/156

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140 Folklore of the Azores.

open door. After circling round the church it settled on the high altar, where it remained. From that hour the plague was stayed, and the Festival of the Pombinha or Dove has been celebrated ever since. It begins after Easter, and lasts for seven weeks.

Alvorada {or Greeting of the Dawn) at Ribeira Secca. This ceremony takes place at the village of Ribeira Secca, which adjoins the town of Ribeira Grande on the north coast of St. Michael's. An eruption of a volcanic peak near this village, known as Pico do Fogo, or Fire Peak, took place in 1563. The inhabitants fied to the church of St. Peter^ and made a vow to keep his day as a festival for ever if he protected them. This festival takes place on June 2gth, St. Peter's Day ; the inhabitants of Ribeira Grande and of Ribeirinha, a village beyond it, also taking part in the rejoicings. The roads are decorated with green boughs, flowers, and bunting, and the houses adorned with large blue hydrangeas. All the horses of the country-side are collected ; their manes and tails are braided with bright coloured ribbons, they are decked with garlands of flowers, and ridden by the men of the village and neighbourhood. The men are dressed in their best clothes or in white, and are decorated with ribbons, flowers, and gold. They present rather a ludicrous appearance, as they wear black silk top- hats covered with gold and jewellery sewn on to them. The women lend all their ornaments for this purpose. Chains are festooned round the hats, brooches pinned and long earrings sewn round them, lockets and bracelets placed wherever a resting-place can be found.

In the early morning they assemble in the Adro or church-square, and begin what is called the Alvorada, that is the Salutation of the Dawn. The band plays in front, and following it they ride down the streets and roads headed by the captain (a hereditarv office), who carries the national flag. They halt in all open spaces or before the