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May 1st: dolls in front of houses

Saint Louis...
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May 1st: dolls in front of houses

We were in Sao Miguel the end of April and the beginning of May. On May 1st, we noticed dressed dolls outside of people's houses and in school yards in several of the small towns including Mosteiros where we rented a house. We asked a local who spoke some English but she said she did not know. She said that just some people do it. What is the story?

And, while we are talking about customs, what do the firecrackers mean? They seemed to be connected to church somehow. We saw an elderly lady walking down the street with a three foot long firecracker. Another older woman approached her and said, "didn't anyone help you?". The first woman said, "No". What does this mean?

Sao Miguel, Portugal
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1. Re: May 1st: dolls in front of houses

May the 1st - Labor Day - is celebrated in a special way in the Azores.

This day is celebrated with rag dolls, made ​​in the likeness of man, which represent episodes of everyday people. On this day, people adorn their doors, balconies, gardens with these dolls, traditionally designated as Maios in order to beautify the place but also with a critical sense and / or humorous.

It is believed that this tradition is associated with good harvests, and it would be a way to welcome the summer ahead and say goodbye to winter. It is considered that the Maios are very similar to scarecrows, like this is justified by the fact that people want to ensure that their crops would be the best.

The firecrackers from what I know, have sevral meanings. They are relationed with the beggining, during and the end of the Procesion, or specialy the Patron image of that church getting out or in the church after the Procesion. Now the Firecrakers are relation with the Holly Ghost or Spirit Festivities that are released sevral times during the day and during the weeks before the Festivities.

Gary Travassos

2. Re: May 1st: dolls in front of houses

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