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Legend of St Sebastian and the Bodo Festival

Legend of St Sebastian and the Bodo Festival
people and traditions
The story goes that St Sebastian saved the inhabitants of Janeiro de Cima from a serious epidemic that devastated the village in the middle of the 18th century. The Bodo Festival is celebrated every year in gratitude.

Legend has it that in the middle of the 18th century, the population of Janeiro de Cima was ravaged by a terrible epidemic that struck down innumerable victims.

The residents of Janeiro de Cima borrowed from Janeiro de Baixo their image of St Sebastian, protector against famine, plague and war. Fearful of contagion, the people of Janeiro de Baixo would not approach, but at dawn the following day they crossed the river in a boat, bringing the image of their saint and leaving it on the bank of the Zêzere, and returned quickly to their village.

As the saint heard the prayers and drove away the epidemic, Janeiro de Cima fulfilled its promise and built a chapel with an image of him. This gratitude is perpetuated annually with the Bodo Festival, on 20 January. During the celebration, the village stewards contribute to a bodo, an offering of bread and wine, which after having symbolically travelled in procession through the streets of the village and carried up to the hill to the saint’s chapel, it is served there to the whole community.

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