During Semana Santa (Holy Week), Braga is the scene of major celebrations which reach a climax in the three days before Easter Sunday, when local priests bless each house with a crucifix and holy water, while torchlit processions of hooded penitents known as farricocos parade by, spinning large rattles. Devout pilgrims meanwhile will be climbing the staircase at Bom Jesus on their knees, and there’s a second major pilgrimage here for Pentecost (the seventh Sunday after Easter). Still a religious festival, but rather less buttoned-up, is the shindig associated with the Festas de São João (June 23–24), which is preceded by a festival of gigantones (giant carnival figures; from June 18–20).

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