Demons loose in Portugal

On Friday 13th, a coven of witches, warlocks and devils descended on the Portuguese city of Montalegre. People disguised as witches, warlocks and ghosts ran around the medieval castle screaming and waving their arms, as in the city the shops sold “cakes kneaded by the Devil”, “excommunicated pork”, “nettle soup” and “meat roasted in Hell”.

Bonfires and black-cloaked figures completed the picture. The main figure was the local priest, who declared “Where the Devil is, is where the priest belongs”. Dressed in a long black cape and a wide-brimmed hat, he declared that “We have to finish with superstition by playing with it”.

The festivity finished with “The burning of the witches”, which is a highly potent alcoholic drink, set fire to and then drunk, to ward off fly, colds and coughs.

The spirits at least died happy.


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