It’s a tradition that may be a century old. In the different towns around each island of the Azorean Archipelago people would gather for weekly Thursday evening meetings, which were known as “Serões”, to choose the cereals, wheat and corn, that would be used for the Holy Ghost Festivities. During those evening gatherings, songs were sung and poetry was recited, all exalting and honoring Friendship.
As the years went by this tradition was kept but the objective evolved according to times.
Nowadays, the four Thursdays before “Carnival” are dedicated to differentiated meetings and gatherings. The Azorean people dedicate these four Thursdays to very particular festivities, which begin with “Amigos” (this year on Thursday, the 7th of February), followed by “Amigas” (on Thursday the 14th of February, which this year also happens to be Valentine’s Day!), followed by “Compadres” and ending with “Comadres”, just before the Carnival celebrations weekend.
According to tradition, “Dia de Amigos”, or “Boys’ Day Out” is reserved for a good evening get-together only between male friends. A friend invites another friend who will bring yet another. A group will join another group and may get so enlarged that soon you will be making new friends. They will eat and drink and have fun. It’s dedicated to reuniting old friends and strengthening brotherhood ties.
There are restaurants that will close doors to the entry of women, only authorizing men.
On “Dia de Amigas”, or “Girls Day Out”, women will take their “revenge”! Men will stay at home while the girls will go out to dinner with best friends, sometimes using Masks or Carnival Costumes to celebrate the values of Friendship in a joyful and fun way.
In general, these are very happy, laid back evenings where old friendships are cemented and new ones, many times, arise.
“Dia de Compadres” and “Dia de Comadres” aren’t so profusely celebrated, they generally take place in a more familiar environment.
A very popular Carnival sweet is the “filhós”, which is a kind of fried dough. Grandmothers and Great grandmothers say that in old times they would prepare baskets and baskets of filhós for the whole family and friends to gather and enjoy. Back in those days when families were numerous and food was not served in abundance, this was a big reason to smile, also because this sweet would only be eaten during this particular holiday season.
Let’s all celebrate because:
“A treasure may not always be a Friend, but a Friend is always a Treasure”