COVID-19 and the festivities of the “biggest night of the year” in the city of Póvoa de Varzim – is it possible to happen in 2021?

It is certain that we are still in March and it is a long time before the month of June, but in Póvoa de Varzim, a city 30 minutes far away from Porto in northern Portugal, São Pedro festivities start months earlier. But… Will this year, COVID-19 pandemic and constant restrictions, let our city shine on the night of June 28th to 29th?

The patron saint of Póvoa de Varzim is São Pedro, celebrated in the city from night 28th to 29th of June.The city dresses in the colors of each neighborhood, green and white, yellow and blue, red and white, red and green, sky blue and white, yellow and red. There is the traditional sardine on the street shared by everyone, completely full streets, there is the “jumping the fire”, and “rusgas” (folk group, also called popular marches) where women proudly show their gold inherited from generations. It is a night where everyone goes out on the street, from 8 to 80 years old everyone celebrates proudly their street. On June 29, the municipal holiday, there is a solemn procession that lasts the whole afternoon, with various andores with the saints that goes throughout the city.

For a city that gets to receive around five thousand people in these festivities, last year was lived with a lot of sadness for the inhabitants of the city and outsiders who were unable to celebrate due to COVID-19. The crowded streets gave way to a cold and empty night through the city streets. All festivities were banned, restaurants closed, fireworks and festivals with loud music all night were not heard in the city.

This is year won’t be different, the Mayor of Póvoa de Varzim, Mr. Aires Pereira considered in February that the context of social restrictions imposed by the pandemic of COVID-19 may not be completely overcome by the summer, and, for this reason, he finds it difficult for the autarchy to organize or support events that cause gatherings of people. This will also greatly affect the seasonal tourism in Póvoa, so typical.

Unfortunately, we will not see the streets full of people again and live the month of June in the city with joy. And images like this … so soon it will be impossible to watch.

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