A legend about Manteigas

Manteigas has got many legends and traditions.

There are many reports which involve the imagination of all those who want to know even better this land full of natural beauty and a past with history.

According to the Mythology:

Hermes, son of Zeus and Maya, an agile and shrewd messenger and herald of the gods of the Olympus, who executed their orders faster than the thought… with some winged sandals in his feet…a magical hat with wings… a caduceus as a stick with two wings also at its top…him and the god of the flocks…of the shepherds…, disappointed with all the envies of his companions of the Court of the Olympus and knowing all the tricks less worth of the lord of all the gods, decided to hide in the most desert place, inaccessible to men and the gods, and chose  as his favourite dwelling place Montes Hermínios, a place near the great Sea, where the intrigues of the lords of the Mediterranean Basin civilization didn’t reach him. There was no problem for him at all. As he ran faster than the thought, his absences weren’t even noticed by his divine partners.

One day, Hermes (son of Zeus and Maya) woke up desolate… He had witnessed the slow slipping of the glacier which opened the deep Hermínios valley and at the end, the most beautiful locus amoenus anyone can imagine…much more beautiful and attractive than the enchanted island of Crete, that place remained inhabited…Now, it is right here that I want to found the land of my most faithful followers…Hermes thought.

Then, Hermes, the solitary lord of the most secret Mountains that even the Gods didn’t know, sorry about his solitude, decided to attract to his secret nook the bravest and boldest shepherds on earth…

He discovered at the top village a young woman, still a child, that her mother cradled in her lap… As god of the flocks, he ordered one of his bulls to catch the mother unprepared and to take the child away. He ran with the child without being caught and then he left her next to some laurels and other species of willows, reeds and flowers that bordered the river, where, after the fury that it carried since Cântaros where it was born until after the valley among the highest mountains, it began to change into a snake and transforming the riversides into fertile lands of green meadows, rich in pastures of all its flocks and flowers of the most varied colours…

It was there that the bravest neighbours of the mother came, who had seen her daughter taken by a bull, the one that seemed the most fierce of that herd of sparkling browns and, watching that fierce bull lovingly laying the child, whose name was Hermínia, among tuffs of herbs and flowers, and warming her with its fug, decided to breed there every species of cattle and flocks in the most plentiful and nourishing pastures one can imagine and, after some time, there were legions of people from the most different places and populations looking for animals and the milk that the lustrous cows and shiny goats and sheep produced and, as the milk ran abundantly, almost like the river and streams waters that fed it… they began to keep it in cream so that it was enough for everyone, always; they started to make another type of a delicious cream and  one they called cheese and the other butter…and as there was a delicious cream, changed into cheese and butter from all those different milks, each one with its most refined and tasty flavor, that’s why that the Hermínias and Hermínios that followed, started being searched as the furnishers of the most delicious feasts that could only be compared with the nectar and ambrosia, the food only known by the Olympus gods and so they called it: Manteigas!

Extracted from: www.joraga.net

Fátima – Legend of S. João in Beira Baixa

Of the Muslim presence, the weirdest phenomenon is the cult of Fátima, by the shepherds, kept since the expulsion of the Moors and the arrival of the first Christian conquerors to Manteigas lands. Some authors from the 17th and 19th centuries talk about the devotion of the mountain shepherds from Manteigas towards the Moorish princess Fátima, who is enchanted at the mountain and always protected them whenever they were distressed and invoked her. The name Fátima is kept in a mountain toponymy, in Manteigas, and at the beginning of this century, and according to some testimonies, the devotion is still present. (www.terrasdabeira.com)

The Christian amount didn’t give peace to the Muslim scimitar.

As the Nazarenes were stronger, or happier, they took in their way the Mafoma henchmen.

Repelled from fight to fight, chased without mercy, it was impossible for them to carry all the wealth they had acquired for centuries. So, they hid their things at the places they judged more adequate.

It is from here that the popular imagination begins to expand. Those treasures were, according to the people, kept by enchanted Muslim women.

The Arab king of Manteigas had a daughter called Fátima. She was as beautiful as the vision of the promised paradise by Mohammed and her father saw her as the most sensitive fibre of his soul. The Christian knights from the neighbourhoods tried really hard to take possession of the king’s states, to captivate his daughter and to take his goods and jewels.

The king wanted to resist, sheltered by the city walls, but since the attacker hosts were in an unknown number and resistance would be insane, he decided to escape through the most hidden ways of the mountain, taking his daughter and the rest of his wealth, which hadn’t been put in a safe place yet.

They walked the whole day but, at dusk, Fátima couldn’t move anymore, she was dying of exhaustion. The situation was fearsome. How to help her in that clearing, the harshest place of the mountain? Suddenly, in front of them, a superb flowery way opened itself, cobbled with the thinnest stones, and at its end, a ray of light that enlightened everything as if the Sun was shining at the pinnacle.

It was like a miracle operated by the Prophet, the salvation that appeared some steps ahead. So, the king, his daughter and the delegation felt the hope reviving in their hearts. They followed through the road that was open at their front and they entered a bright palace, so full of magnificent things that they were all amazed.

What happened after this, no one knows, but in the days right after this, the people of the mountains saw many shepherds that no one knew in town going up and down the hills. They took some time in those places and they made several repeated visits to Coruto de Alfátema, the name of the top of that mountain. One fine day, they disappeared, and no one ever saw them again.

Those shepherds were disguised Moors, and it was because of their indiscretion that it was known that a good fairy, Fátima’s godmother, had promised to keep her in her enchanted house, always young and beautiful until those faithful Koran partisans conquered Portugal again.

This belief was old-established in the peasants’ spirit and during the 12th and 13th centuries there was a huge panic, believing that the Moors troops would arrive in search of the beautiful Fátima.

The legend took even more shape in the candid spirit of the peasants when, a few years after the Christians took Manteigas, happened the following:

A poor woman, of the most miserable of the village, had to go through Coruto de Alfátema, at dawn, on Saint John´s day. Feeling tired, she sat on one of the many cliffs around to take some rest and eat some crusts of bread she had taken with her.

The bread, hard after may days, could hardly be swallowed. When the unfortunate woman spoke evil of her life for having to eat such a food, she saw next to her a wide rack of dried figs.

She ate some of them, and reminding of her children who cried far away, she filled a basket of them.

She walked, jaunty, towards the cottage, enjoying in advance the joy that she was going to provide to the children. To her astonishment, when she uncovered the basket, instead of figs, she saw diamonds and sparkling gold coins.

She was rich. But the beggar that minutes before had thanked God for only having to satisfy her hunger and that of her relatives, felt the ambition biting her. A basket of precious stones and of good golden coins was wasn’t enough for her! She wanted to be very rich: She goes back to Coruto in a hurry. But the sun, which had risen in the horizon and shone then in the great uncloudy sky, pulled out from the polished surface of the rocks myriads of dazzling flickers. The spell was broken, the figs had disappeared. Completely distressed and despaired, tearing her hair, she was about to curse when she heard a very soft voice, singing:


It was yours all that you saw;

Now you turned it into something in vain!

Don’t pass by anymore

In the morning of Saint John.

Poverty didn’t kill you

But the ambition might.


Text by Eduardo Noronha – www.joraga.net

Lenda da Princesa Estrela

Nos tempos recuados da Idade Média, vivia junto dos Montes Hermínios, numa vasta planície, um rei godo, do povo muito amado. Houvera de sua mulher uma linda menina, branca como luar de Janeiro, cintilante como as estrelas douradas a luzir no firmamento nas noites límpidas e puras.
– É branca como as estrelas – diziam as aias que a vestiam. E os pais da princezinha sorriam de contentamento e diziam um para o outro: – Pois há-de chamar-se Estrela.
Este lindo nome recebeu no Baptismo e, quanto mais crescia, mais as estrelinhas, suas irmãs, invejavam a sua beleza.
Na côrte havia um cavaleiro esbelto chamado D. Diego (ou Diogo – já se não sabe ao certo) que gostava muito da princezinha. Muito se amavam, e passavam juntos, em alegria, horas infindáveis…
Veio um dia a guerra contra os árabes, em terras distantes, e D. Diego partiu com o Rei. A linda Estrela ficou desolada, cheia de saudades, a chorar seu cavaleiro ausente.
O coração não suportava essa separação já longa, e resolveu subir aos altos montes das redondezas a ver se avistava D. Diego no seu regresso. Foi com as aias até ao cimo dos mais altos penhascos onde trepava todos os dias na esperança de ver, ao longe, o cavaleiro ousado, o seu querido D. Diego, no seu cavalo branco em que fôra pelejar contra os mouros.
Dos cerros íngremes, tão altos que quase o céu se tocava com a mão, a linda princesa espraiava o olhar na distância infinda, mas, do seu cavaleiro ausente, não divisava nada. Triste, muito triste, mais triste que a noite, clamava em alta voz:
– Mom-Diego! Mom-Diego! porque não vens? Só as rochas negras repercutiam o eco:
– Mom-Diego! Mom-Diego! … Assim passaram os dias, assim correram as noites de infindável angústia durante os quais os olhos da princezinha eram duas fontes de lágrimas de água pura a correr…
Água tanta seus olhos derramaram, que ela foi correndo serra a baixo…
Os pastores e as gentes da serra ouviram ainda, durante muito tempo, o eco das cavernas repetindo as exclamações da princesa que ali morreu de pena: – Mom-Diego Mom-Diego!…
E, por isso, deram o nome ao rio que ali se formou das lágrimas da princezinha e que é, nem mais nem menos, que o nosso Mondego.
E à Serra alta que, até então, se chamava Montes Hermínios, deram o nome da formosa Estrela, tão linda, esbelta e formosa como as estrelas do céu!…
Extraída da Monografia da Vila de Seia de P. José Quelhas Bigotte

Festividades fixas e actividades sócio-económicas

Anualmente várias são as festividades/actividades do Concelho de Manteigas, concretamente:
▪ as Comemorações do Feriado Municipal, no dia 4 de Março;
▪ o Mercado, com exposição de produtos regionais, no 2.o Sábado de cada mês;
▪ a Mostra de Actividades e Feira de Artesanato (Expo Estrela), tendo lugar, no dia do Carnaval, a prova do Queijo da Serra da Estrela e um desfile Carnavalesco.
Realizam-se ainda festividades específicas de cada freguesia do Concelho, nomeadamente,

As festas que se comemoram são a de Santa Eufémia, no 3.o fim-de-semana de Setembro, de Beato Nuno, 2.o fim-de-semana de Agosto e de São João, no dia 24 de Junho ou no
fim-de-semana mais próximo.

Santa Maria
Comemoram-se as festas e romarias de São Lourenço, a 10 de Agosto, do Senhor do Calvário, no 3.o Domingo de Agosto, de São Sebastião, no 4.o Domingo de Outubro e os Santos Populares.

S. Pedro
Das Festas e Romarias, celebram-se nesta freguesia a festa da Nossa Senhora da Graça, a
8 de Dezembro; Santo António, a 13 de Junho; Senhora dos Verdes, no 3.o Domingo de Setembro; e, São Sebastião, no 2.o Domingo de Outubro.

Vale de Amoreira
A festa da Nossa Senhora da Anunciação celebra-se no 2.o Domingo de Agosto.

A Câmara Municipal de Manteigas promove anualmente, no fim-de-semana de Carnaval, a Mostra de Actividades e Feira de Artesanato (Expo Estrela), que reúne cerca de
70 expositores, repartidos por Entidades, Associações, Artesanato, Comércio, Produtos Regionais, Indústria e Restauração.