Dia de Amigos, i.e. Friends’ Day in the Azores

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Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2020-04-22. Autor: Milena

Dia de Amigos, Dia de Amigas, Dia de Compadres, Dia de Comadres…

The last four Thursdays of the Carnival are extremely intensely celebrated in the Azores.

Boyfriends’ (Male Friends’) Day, Girlfriends’ (Female Friends’) Day, Cofathers’ Day and Comothers’ Day are exceptional holidays, typical of the Azores archipelago. And still important, especially the first two. And how did it start?

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The history of celebrating these holidays is probably about 100 years old.

The neighbors were gathering to prepare corn, wheat and other grains for the upcoming Festas do Espírito Santo, a celebration in honor of the Holy Spirit. In order not to get bored, they amused themselves with poetry and chants. Bonds between neighbours strengthened, and poems and musical pieces more and more eagerly praised friendship.

After some time, traditional preparations for the Festas do Espírito Santo stopped having such meaning. Meetings in small groups were replaced by an organization at the commune level. Friends and acquaintances, however, were still eager to meet. Spending time together and celebrating friendship has become a value.

Nowadays, Boyfriends’ (Male Friends’) Day and Girlfriends (Female Friends’) Day are one of the most celebrated holidays in Terceira.

The fourth Thursday before the Carnival is Boyfriends’ Day.

All the ladies stay at home, and groups of gentlemen come out on the streets of the island. These groups can include both three people and thirty – according to the principle „my friend’s friend is my friend”. Such meetings are an opportunity to break free from the routine of everyday life, to rest mentally and see those who have not seen each other for a long time. And for local dining outlets – to build up their budget.

The third Thursday before the end of the Carnival belongs to ladies.

Often fancifully, carnival-dressed groups of women celebrate Girlfriends’ Day just like men, in restaurants, bars and other places where you can eat and drink something good, and sometimes dance or… cheer on the stripper in his show.

Yes, yes, striptease on Catholic, conservative islands is not surprising and it often accompanies Dia de Amigos and Dia de Amigas. I haven’t solved the puzzle yet, but… the machine on the street with condoms, lubricants and pregnancy tests is definitely part of the same puzzle.

The Cofather’s Day and Comothers’ Day Day are more peaceful.

They are usually commemorated by a text message with greetings or small sweets.

But… who is a cofather? And who is a comother? Well, they are people of the same sex that have a big impact on raising a new society member. Cofathers are most often the father and the godfather of a child, and comothers – the mother and the godmother.

On the islands, life still goes on in groups. Of course, Western European individualism is becoming more and more popular, but most of social life is still based on interpersonal contacts, especially those within the family. Family is holiness, and by the way – great help in everyday life. Sister will drop eggs and milk from a cow, brother – oranges, mother – freshly baked cake, cousins will take care of the child on Saturday afternoon – and you can function. And next Saturday, take over the queue to look after the cousins’ children. And give everyone interested beans from the garden behind the house.

I don’t have beans behind the house, but I do function in a group of friends.

And I celebrated Dia de Amigas three times on the island. There is something to celebrate! Friendship is one of the most beautiful inventions of humanity!

Dia de Amigas means places filled with women full of good energy, it means streets full of chatty strollers, it means cars with smiley women faces… It’s good to see so much joy in the same time. And it’s even better to let yourself be carried away by this joy and to recharge your batteries with it for the next days. And if it ran out, you know – a phone call to a friend. Or a girlfriend!

Dia de Amigos, Dia de Amigas

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