Caretos de Podence takes to the streets with an announced visit by the President of the Republic

The self-proclaimed "most authentic Carnival in Portugal" lasts four days, from February 18 to 21, but the party begins the day before, February 17, with the visit of the President of the Republic, such as António Carneiro, President of the Association caretos of Podence.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was in Podence in 2020, shortly after the Entrudo Chocalheiro of the village of Podence, in the municipality of Macedo de Cavaleiros, district of Bragança, was classified as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the United Nations United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

According to António Carneiro, the President of the Republic returns to Podence "to fulfill the promise of inaugurating the mural" with the figure of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in what he wants to be "the most colorful village in Portugal", with several murals spread throughout the city.

The Head of State was in Podence less than a month before the first confinement due to the covid-19 pandemic and will return within a year when Entrudo Chocalheiro "returns to normality" without sanitary restrictions, in the village of less of 200 inhabitants.

"Maintaining what is traditional, above all" is the goal of the organization, which emphasizes "the responsibility with UNESCO for the classification" which obliges to "maintain the matrix" of this festival.

The Caretos, with colorful yellow, red and green costumes, tin masks, rattles around their waists and a stick are the protagonists of this party and the main attraction on Carnival day, with the parade through the streets of the village.

On the remaining days they are also present, especially in the various scheduled outdoor activities, such as hiking, boat trips on the Azibo reservoir, the most popular resort in Nordeste Trás-os-Montes, in street entertainment or in the village taverns. with local gastronomy.

António Carneiro does not risk the expected number of visitors, but guarantees that "not only in the municipality of Macedo de Cavaleiros, but in the whole region of Trás-os-Montes, accommodation and catering are complete for the four days of the event”.

The village still lacks infrastructure to accommodate the flood of visitors and the president of the Associação dos Caretos de Podence continues to complain about political power and local investments.

"The political power must see this party in a different way so that things are even more a reference at the national and international level", he estimated.

A local assertion which, according to António Carneiro, “is out of the question”, is that Podence takes over the Portuguese pavilion which was at Expo Dubai.

“Because the dismantling costs are unaffordable,” he said.

The ambition to build the Caretos Museum in Trás-os-Montes remains firm and the President of the Association has declared that "there is already a project", which will be presented to the President of the Republic.

The most emblematic masquerades of the traditions of Trás-os-Montes have represented Portugal in international events with a presence in several countries.

They have already been distinguished by the Imrensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda (INCM) with the issue of a piece of “Portuguese ethnography” and this year they are the figures on the slopes of the national lottery.

They have inspired several documentaries, the oldest of which dates from 1976, by Noémia Delgado, with the title “Máscaras” and songs like “Olhem os Caretos” by the Portuguese group Quinta do Bill.

In this Entrudo Chocalheiro, on February 19, a game for consoles will be presented in which the protagonists are the "facanitos", as the children who dress up as Careto are called.


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