Intagible Heritage

The expression Intangible Cultural Heritage can be defined as “cultural manifestations expressed in practices, representations, knowledge and skills, of a traditional character, regardless of their popular or erudite origin, which communities, groups and individuals recognize as being an integral part of their cultural heritage, and which, being passed on from generation to generation, are constantly recreated by communities and groups [...], instilling a sense of collective identity.” (Decree-Law No. 149/2015, of 4 August, Article 1)

Working with the Intangible Cultural Heritage on the island of São Miguel is a challenge for the Carlos Machado Museum. This team works as a driving force for greater proximity between the museum and the island, seeking the signaling and safeguarding of aspects related to the experiences and memories of people, groups and communities, promoting the enrichment and valuation of all involved.

The Pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora do Rosário - Lagoa, São Miguel Island

This religious manifestation is practiced by groups of Pilgrims (“Romeiros”) that exist in almost all the parishes of the Island of São Miguel. These groups are traditionally made up of male elements: adults, youth and children, Catholics, natives and / or residents of the parish. However, residents of other parishes may also be part of the group.

The registered group (2009 and 2015) refers to the Pilgrims of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, in Lagoa. This group, like others, varies in number annually. In 2009, it was made up of 45 brothers, while in 2015, of 40 brothers.


Singing to the Souls - Achadinha, São Miguel Island

The ritual Singing to the Souls is practiced by a group of local residents of Achadinha, consisting of men and women of various ages, coordinated by Mestre Alice Pacheco Tavares. Singing to the Souls at Achadinha is held annually, during the month of November every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The ritual begins on November 2nd, Day of the Dead.


Construction of Volcanic Stone Walls - São Miguel Island

There are several construction companies that carry out the construction of dry-stone walls on the island of São Miguel, also known as cabouqueiros. The recorded case concerns a group of men and boys from Rabo de Peixe, in Ribeira Grande. The contractor in charge is Marco Flor, whose father was also a builder of dry-stone walls.


Decoration of Chavelha and Ox Carts at the Holy Ghost Festivities - Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island

The Holy Ghost festivities, celebrated on all the islands of the Azores, are also organized by the inhabitants of Sete Cidades, and are enjoyed as well by visitors and outsiders who travel to this parish.

The festivity is organized by the so called “butler” and a group of brothers who help him at various times. However, the decoration of the chavelhas and ox carts, for the festive processions is the responsibility of some families, namely the Costa family from Sete Cidades.


Firewood Festival: Empires of the Holy Ghost - Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island

This festivity is celebrated in Sete Cidades by the local residents.

It is held by the so called “Butler”, with the help of his family and friends. It is attended by men and boys, and women and girls from the parish of Sete Cidades. The men and boys go into the forest and are responsible for all the work of collecting, cutting and storing all the firewood for this feast day, while women and girls stay at their Butler's house to prepare meals that will be served to all.


Artisanal Black Tea Production in Seara - Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island

The Artisanal Production of Black Tea at Seara is currently carried out by a small family group consisting of the housekeeper from the estate Judite da Silva Pavão (81 years old), her son João Alves (50 years old) and her daughter-in-law Anália Alves (44 years old).


Artisanal Production of Fresh Goat Cheese - Sete Cidades, São Miguel

The artisanal production of fresh goat cheese is carried out by several women between 50 and 75 years of age, helped by men who take care of the animals and do the milking.


Regional Roof Tiles, Bricks and Pans Production - Ribeira Seca, São Miguel Island

The production of regional roof tile, bricks and pans is practiced by the employees of the José Tavares Vieira factory, located in the parish of Ribeira Seca, municipality of Ribeira Grande.


Artisanal Production using Flax - Arrifes, São Miguel Island

In the Azores, flax leaves are used as thread and also as raw material in the production of various artifacts.

On the island of São Miguel there are several people, mainly from the older generation, who know how to manufacture artefacts with flax.

The Carlos Machado Museum's Intangible Cultural Heritage (PCI) Team signaled artisan Bento Silva as an example of the practice of this event. Bento Silva is dedicated to the artisanal production of various works with flax, namely mats, flowers, hats, ropes, among others.


Corn Leaf Rugs - Santa Barbara, São Miguel Island

Here, Maria dos Anjos and other ladies, in rural areas and all over the island of São Miguel, in their 60s, 70s and 80s, are the main focus for the work they do with corn leaves. Mrs. Maria dos Anjos grows corn to make bread, keeps the leaves to make mats as she learned in her youth, and makes them as needed and according to the availability of corn leaf, the raw material.

Before, doormats were produced once or twice a year. The new carpets were kept for festive occasions and the older ones were commonly used in the bedrooms.


Video of the Pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Lagoa, São Miguel)

This pilgrimage tradition, according to some authors, has its origin in the strong seismic crises that affected the island of São Miguel in the past - Father Ernesto Ferreira says “Between 1522 and 1586 came, then, other punishments that afflicted the entire population of São Miguel and originated the Pilgrimages that still occur today. It must have been the violent eruptions of 1563.” (Ferreira, 1959)


Video of the construction of volcanic stone walls on the island of São Miguel

Currently, there are several groups of men linked to small and medium-sized construction companies, who carry out this type of construction. The most well-known groups are from Rabo de Peixe, probably because they maintained the knowledge and continued building stone walls until today.

#MuseuEmSuaCasa #FicaEmCasa


Video of the "Festa da Lenha"

This is a festive event that takes place in each of the three Empires of the Holy Spirit: the Holy Trinity Empire, the Saint John Empire and the Saint Peter Empire. This popular festive ritual takes place exclusively in the communities of Sete Cidades and involves the active participation of almost the entire community. It is necessary to collect, cut and split a lot of firewood to be used in the preparation of meals that will be offered to all in the community, as well as for heating the water used in washing the dishes afterwards.


Video of the production of regional tiles

We showcase the production of regional tile, bricks and pans, which takes place at José Tavares Vieira's factory, equipped with a large oven, clay storage space, dryers, mechanized production area and warehouses.


Video of the Artisanal Production using flax leaves

We bring Artisan Production using flax leaves - Arrifes, São Miguel Island. In the Azores, these leaves are used as a mooring and also as raw material in the production of various artifacts. On the island of São Miguel there are several people, mainly from the older generation, who know and manufacture artefacts using flax leaves.


Video of the Artisanal Production using flax leaves

We bring artisan production using flax leaves - from Arrifes, São Miguel Island. In the Azores, these leaves are used as a mooring and also as raw material in the production of various artifacts. On the island of São Miguel there are several people, mainly from the older generation, who know and manufacture artefacts using flax leaves.


Video about Tea Production

We highlight the regional production of tea. According to Gabriel D'Almeida (1892), the tea plant was introduced on the island of São Miguel around 1833, as a result of the “orange crisis”, and in 1874 the Sociedade Promotora de Agricultura Micaelense started preparing tea production.


Video of the artisanal production of fresh goat cheese

We highlight the Artisanal Production of Fresh Goat Cheese - Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island. This manifestation occurs daily during the period when there is goat's milk, that is, when the goats have their young. These animals belong to the species Capra aegagrus or Capra hircus. The young - popularly called goats - are born after a gestation of about 150 days. In the morning, the goats are milked, because to make fresh cheese, milk must be used as soon as it is taken from the goat, when it is at its ideal temperature. Then, it is necessary to put the milk still warm to curdle, adding the correct quantity of rennet.


Video of the traditional "Chavelha" decoration

We showcase the decoration of the traditional "Chavelha" and ox cart for the Holy Ghost festivities, which symbolically represent the relevance attributed to this divine entity.


De Fenais a Fenais | Fenais da Luz | Saffron

Saffron (Carthamustinctorius, L.) is a plant of the Asteraceae family, originally from Asia, which was introduced in the Azores after its settlement.

In addition to being used as a dye plant, its use as a spice assumed gradual importance, diversifying flavors and gastronomic practices.

It is sown in March or April and flowers bloom in July and August. The petals are picked every two days in the morning, when the leaves are soft and the thorns are less fragile. The petals are dried in the sun and crushed, resulting in saffron flour. With a strong flavor, saffron has several uses in the cuisine of São Miguel. In Fenais da Luz, according to Manuel Resendes Pereira, it is mainly used in fish. However, it is also used in meat dishes as well as in side dishes.


Old Roofs | Tutorial

Included in the Project From Fenais to Fenais and, in this case, the parish of Fenais da Ajuda, where, in the past, women used rushes to make carpets, blinds and other domestic utensils, using the tying technique of this fiber, identical to that used to make the roofs of primitive houses in the Azores, the Carlos Machado Museum recreates what this mooring technique would consist of. Using other more contemporary fibers and materials within our reach, such as corn leaf, flax leaves, wicker, cotton thread or string, we recreate these roofs in nativity scene houses, a technique that can be used in a wide variety of handmade products.


Weave with natural fibers | Tutorial

The art of weaving is one of the oldest in the Azores. This art was performed mostly by women and they made clothes, blankets, rugs and other utilities. Today this art persists with the same old works but also in a more contemporary way. In this tutorial we intend to show that, with a simple nail loom made at home, using natural and synthetic fibers, anyone can create original pieces and contribute to keep our history alive.


From Fenais to Fenais | Maia | Guided visit to the church of Maia

The Maia Church is the only parish church in São Miguel dedicated to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Little is known about its history. However, primary sources suggest the building has its origin at the settlement of the island, and in 1522 that it was already built.

The relevance that Maia would acquire in the following centuries was also reflected in its parish church. Over time, the parish church of Maia underwent several changes in its structure. In 1796, one of the most important works began, with the construction of the chancel and the chapel of the Holy Sacrament, finished and blessed in 1812. It belongs since 1916 to the Ombudsman's Office of Vera Cruz.

Hugo Castro Pereira was born in the parish of Maia. He is graduated in Biology, branch of Geology and has a Master's in Environment and Society Geology from the University of the Azores. He dedicates his time in activities to support the management of ecclesiastical tasks in his parish. He is part of the Coral Liturgical Group, a catechist, belongs to the Youth Group, Caritas and the Brotherhood of Senhor dos Passos.


From Fenais to Fenais | Maia | History of Maia Clube dos Açores

Founded on October 18th, 1989, by Afonso Carlos Quental, António Rodrigues and Carlos Toste, the Maia Clube dos Açores is an association of sporting, cultural and recreational purpose, located in the parish of Maia, Ribeira Grande. The history of the club's beginning dates back to the 1990/91 season with the creation of a senior football team that would participate, in the following years, in the São Miguel Championships, organized by the Ponta Delgada Football Association. The year 2000 marks the history of Maia Clube dos Açores, and on this date branch number 41 of the Football Club “Os Belenenses” was declared, and consequently the Club symbol was changed in the General Assembly.

Currently chaired by Luís Carvalho, the club has invested in training in recent years, achieving the historic feat of passing to the 2nd phase of the National Youth Futsal Cup, an achievement never before achieved by an Azorean team in the sport. As a training club, it was recognized by the Portuguese Sports Institute as being the best training club of the year, in 2008.


From Fenais to Fenais | Fenais da Ajuda | Port Day

The program of the festivities in honor of Our Lady of Help, in the parish of Fenais da Ajuda, cannot fail to include the Port Day. A moment of community conviviality, next to one of the most scenic sites of the parish. On this day, family and friends gather to enjoy the sea, food and festive traditions associated with music and dance.


From Fenais to Fenais | Fenais da Ajuda | Windmills of Ribeira Funda

For centuries, mills could be easily found in the landscape of São Miguel, being an indispensable resource for the livelihood of the people. In the account of the Bullar brothers' trip to the Azores, in 1838, they describe: “Women sometimes work in the mill, inside which they find themselves in groups, legs crossed on the floor, or at the door, talking and laughing or patiently waiting for their turn to grind the bag of corn, brought there on their heads.”

Mills were exclusive property of the Captain of the donatarie, and many water mills could be found in the northern part of the island, as there were several streams with a strong flow. Only in the 19th century did this monopoly end. However, in the second half of this century, mills became obsolete, many of which abandoned and in complete ruin today.


From Fenais to Fenais | Fenais da Luz | Coastal toponymy

As the older generations give way to the new ones, with them there is, almost inevitably, some loss of popular knowledge and oral tradition. This is the case of the rich coastal toponymy of Fenais da Luz, in which only a few are still able to identify and recognize each rocky or fishing settlement, associating it with a better or worse fishing opportunity, history or symbolism, knowing from an empirical point of view the geological characteristics of the area.

In order to safeguard this informal knowledge of oral tradition, the Museum depends on the support of several local informants, highlighting the efforts of José Eduardo Cabral and Hugo Silva, in collecting and monitoring the work of recognizing the coastline of Fenais da Luz.

This project is a partnership with @CRESAÇOR - Regional Cooperative of Solidary Economy, CRL


From Fenais to Fenais | Rabo de Peixe | Works on land

Fishing in the seas of the Azores at the time of the first settlers didn´t represented an activity of greater priority. With the need to create on land the necessary for the establishment of the first settlements, fishing appeared as a mere subsistence resource or of interest to some. In this regard, Gaspar Frutuoso (2005) says: "After this island was found, for more than five years, there was no man who had a fishing hook" (p. 228). However, with the growth of the population and the demands of life, professions related to artisan crafts, land and sea, were formed, thus establishing the first fishing communities.


From Fenais to Fenais | Rabo de Peixe | Seaman's Dispensations

The Seaman's Dispensations is a secular expression linked to the traditions of the Holy Spirit in the community of Rabo de Peixe and is organized by groups of fishermen who work in the same boat, using the so-called “quinhão do gueixo”, as mentioned in the article “The fishermen's feast of Rabo de Peixe” by Luís Bernardo Leite de Ataíde, in his work Ethnography, Art and Ancient Life of the Azores. Mention should also be made of the fishermen's ball, marked by the presence of the “fishermen's fado”, which to the sound of violas, accordions and rebeca (violins), gives rhythm to the dances performed by men in the parade.

Here we present an excerpt of the testimony of Mr. José Eduardo, who experienced these festivities from an early age and accompanied his father in this tradition in Rabo de Peixe.


From Fenais to Fenais | Rabo de Peixe | Fishing Nets - Tutorial

The first traces of the use of fishing nets go back to the Paleolithic, as this was one of the activities used by man to guarantee his livelihood.

Other traces go back to the Egyptian civilization, about 3500 years ago b.C., where drawings and traces of nets preserved by time were found in archaeological excavations.

Generally thin, the nets had different types of mesh adapted to what they intended to fish and were made of linen, tree fibers and cotton. On the one hand, pine barks were used to serve as floats and on the other, they were attached to heavy stones or baked clay.

Ancient records indicate that the nets were rectangular in shape, and a small boat with a group of men were used for this type of fishing.

Fishing nets have not changed much over time, but the materials they are made of have. Today, synthetic fibers are used, such as nylon.

There are mass net production units today. However, many fishing communities continue to make them by hand. Usually, it is a task performed when they are on land and is mostly developed by men, being considered manual work that contributes to the strengthening of social relationships. A know-how that passes from generation to generation.

This know-how when studied in books only gives us a small view of the reality. In the field, witnessing the process is engaging.

It is important not to let artisanal techniques fall into disuse and it was with this in mind that it was thought to apply the technique to other types of works, adapting them to the current needs and utilities, guaranteeing the permanence of the technique for knowledge of the next generations.

A project in partnership with CRESAÇOR - Regional Cooperative for Solidary Economy, CRL