Romeiros or fastepilgrimme or travellers of faith.
During the first Azorene tour this year, we had a chance to meet several groups of Romeiros, pilgrims walking around the island for one week, in a unique religious manifestation.
Each locality organizes its own group of about 40 to 60 men of many different ages , forming a brother wood and walk from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening, saying prayers, during an entire week, in the lent (faste)period. After one week they should be back to his own parish not later then Thursday before Sunday Easter, where after communion(what they also took before departure), families and all community participate in celebrating with a big party.
After the earthquake of 1522, the volcano eruption in 1563 and the volcano of Capelinhos which registered 450 earth shocks almost of them with half a minute from each other, these reduced men to his human condition before the supremacy of forces of nature, the feeling of smallness raised his eyes to the sky and whispered a prayer.
The clamor of the Hail Mary from the pilgrims is nowadays the echo of this prayer, which lasted in a melody that reaches where words cannot reach. These men go out to reconfirm his faith and thanks to God all the favors /graces received.
They dress very simple, in old days without shoes, with a black shawl around the shoulders(like the cape Jesus had) and a colored scarf tied to the head or neck, symbolizing Christos stick crown. In one of the hands they carry a stock and in the other a rosary, and on the back a bag with the essential, which represents the cross. In the old days they only had bread and water, unless someone on the way will offer them something else.
They walk constantly praying, since early in the morning and the only breaks are for praying in from of the different churches they pass.
They sleep in churches, schools or any private home that offer them a bed. Many of the welcome families will give them dinner, the best bed and will even wash their tired feet .If someone in the family needs a pray for any reason, they will bring it to next day pray.
They call themselves a brother wood under a command of a Master who has a stock with a crucifix on top and who decide which pray they should say. The vice master(The remember of the souls) goes in the middle and he is the one that remember anyone who needs a pray. At the end, another one getting from the people they meet on the road, the wishes for prays.
We met several of this colourful groups, walking without stop even in the rain! Such a faith gave us reasons to think about how near we are from our own convictions !
We saw also some women, a new tradition growing now..Women started same years ago walking but only for one day and the most part of men doesn’t like these modernity.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that National Geografic Traveller http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/ i 2007 voted Azorerne nr. 2 on the list over world best islands for self sustained tourism?(self-sufficient)
…Azorene was selected, by International Bureau of Cultural Capitals, as The European Region of 2010, among the many regions of the 47 European Council Members, succeeding the Albanese area of Gjirokaster?
…Unesco declare as World Heritage (Kulture Mind list) ,the Historic Center of Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira) and The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture?
… to the islands of Corvo,Flores and Graciosa was given the title of “Biosphere Reserve” by the International Council of Unesco Program” The men and the Biosphere”?
…the Foundation World Wildlife Fund distinguished as “Gift to the Earth”, the five hydrothermic maritime underwaters fountains, and its own ecosistems, found in the Atlantic south waters of Azoren.
… 40% of the energy used in S.Miguel and 18% of Azoren it is produced from Geothermic?