A Weekend at the Rural Carnival in Lazarim, Portugal

In Festivals and Events, Trips
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At the beginning of February I joined two photographer friends on a trip to Lazarim, in the Viseu district, in Northern Portugal. The plan was to photograph the celebrations for the rural carnival (Entrudo in Portuguese, Shrovetide in English) and the traditional zoomorphic wooden masks (Caretos), but there was no reason not to try and capture daily life in the village.

The weather was terrible on Saturday, and so we ended up spending a lot of our time indoor at the newly built museum, learning about carnival masks and entrudos in Spain and Portugal. In the evening we got a chance to visit Luis, the son of the eldest mask-carving artisan in the area. He was working in his lab and welcomed us with a glass of jeropiga, a wine-based liquor, and we had a good chat about the art of mask carving.

On Sunday the weather improved a bit and we got to follow and photograph the actual parade, which featured masks from other parts of Portugal (notably the Bragança district) and Spain. Local people tried to convince us to stay until Tuesday, when the entrudo would have reached its high point, but unfortunately there was no way we could stay past the weekend and promised that we would come back next year.

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