Starting in the 16th century, the Romarias Quaresmais of São Miguel occur every year during Lent. Groups of pilgrims travel around the island for a week, visiting churches and hermitages dedicated to Our Lady, and other temples with different invocations.
Part of the pilgrims' attire includes: the shawl and scarf, for protection against cold and harsh weather; the staff or walking stick to support and facilitate the pilgrim's walk through the rugged paths and shortcuts of the island; the patchwork bag to carry clothes and food; and the rosary for prayer throughout the entire pilgrimage.
Although the attire originated purely from the pilgrim's physical needs during the pilgrimage, it has evolved over time into mystical-religious symbols: the staff recalls the scepter given to Christ by the Romans during His trial before Pilate; the shawl, refers to His Tunic; the scarf to the crown of thorns of His torment, and the bag to the Cross on the way to Calvary.
These elements characterize the pilgrims, and each one commits to carrying them. In addition to their utilitarian function, they also constitute an emblematic reference to the identity of the pilgrim and the Lenten pilgrimages of São Miguel. 2024 [SFS & Trad. SM]