Nazaré and Ericeira are not particularly well known for their Carnival action (that honor goes elsewhere) but these villages, like many others throughout Portugal, have their own unique versions of Carnival, crafted from tradition and local customs.
Nazaré is a tiny fishing village of 15.000 that skyrocketed to global stardom in 2011, when Garrett McNamara surfed a record-breaking giant wave with 24 meters (that’s an 8 story building). During this year’s Carnival, surf was down but the sun was up, so folks gathered at the waterfront to watch the parade go by.
Visitors will probably struggle to draw a hard line between Nazaré’s traditional clothes and Carnival costumes. The ‘barrete’, a long black wool cap, is used by fisherman either on the head or across the shoulder. Women use delicately embroidered skirts, although probably not as many as before: as legend goes, fishermen’s wives used 7 skirts to keep warm while sitting on the beach, waiting for the rough sea to give back their husbands.
Ericeira has an equally impressive surfing pedigree, and it’s hard to believe that this quaint fishing village of 10,000 sits at a mere 50km (32 miles) from Lisbon.
Carnival here is shared among old and young, fathers and children. The braver ones scrounge up a costume from whatever is at hand and join the parade, while the shier ones cheer from the sidelines.