OUR LADY OF PENEDA PILGRIMAGE
Arcos de Valdevez
The Peneda Pilgrimage one of the oldest and most important festivals of northern Portugal, in honour of Our Lady of Peneda.
It is held annually between 1 and 8 September.
During those eight the sanctuary days receives thousands of visitors from Minho and Galicia.
The most important days Pilgrimage days are on 5th and 6th. The 5th is usually dedicated to the thousands of Spanish, that cross the border to visit the Sanctuary. The 6th is the religious festival day, and the most important of all.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Peneda in Ponte da Barca, in the parish of Gavieira, on the way to the town of Melgaço, is likely to date back from the late eighteenth century, according to the date of the existing column on the top of the access staircase. It is believed that this was the location of a small chapel built to remember the appearance of Our Lady of Peneda, whose worship grew and led to the sanctuary construction.
This place of worship integrates the stairway of virtues, with statues representing Faith, Hope, Charity and Glory, dating back from 1854, the main church, completed in 1875, the main yard, the yard of the evangelists and the large staircase about 300 meters long , with 20 shrines depicting the Christ's life. The Peneda Pilgrimage takes place every year, lasting for one week, between August 31 and September 8.
The Legend of Peneda
The Lady of Peneda appeared August 5th, 1220, to a child who was keeping a few goats in the form of a white dove and asked her to tell the inhabitants of Gavieira, to build a shrine in that place. The shepherd told her parents, but they did not believe the story. The next day when she was keeping her goats in the same place, the Lady appeared again, but in the form of the image that exists today, and sent the child to the place of Roussas, to fetch a bedridden woman for over eighteen years, name, Domingas Gregório that when got close to the image regained her health.