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The party committee of São Bartolomeu, in Ponte da Barca, wants to create a digital museum to keep the memories of the pilgrimage and, within three years, open a physical space to show all the estate, said Pedro Bragança today.

Speaking to Lusa, regarding the presentation, on Wednesday, of the pilgrimage program “that will not be lived on the streets, but felt through digital”, due to the pandemic of covid-19, the chairman of the party committee of that county, Pedro Bragança, said that the “kick-off” in that project will be given in this year’s edition.

“The exhibition about the pilgrimage that we are going to launch, this year, through the official pilgrimage website, is the kick-off of the future digital museum that, I hope will be concluded in 2021 and that, within three years, will come to give way to a physical space to gather all the collected assets ”, he said.

The exhibition that will be inaugurated this year “gathers photographs, texts and testimonies of Barquenses and visitors about the most emblematic numbers of the pilgrimage, known for popular swoops, turns and sing to the challenge”.

“We redesigned the official pilgrimage page on the Internet and gave it a new name: Living Memories of a Pilgrimage”. It is on this site that the exhibition that will start the second step of the project that we want to carry out, which is the digital museum, will be made available. The third, much more ambitious step, the opening of a physical space, we hope to be a reality in three years ”, stressed Pedro Bragança.

In 2020, the pilgrimage runs from August 19 to 24, and the program, to be presented on Wednesday, includes the “online transmission of the mass, concerts and chants to the challenge”.

There will also be “a street exhibition, composed of large structures, spread throughout the village, constituting a route to be visited by day or night, which aims to keep alive the memory of each of the most special points of the party”. The inauguration is scheduled for the first day of the pilgrimage, at 17:00.

The program also includes a debate, at Largo do Urca, on the 18th, entitled “Pilgrimage of São Bartolomeu: memory and tradition in search of the future”.

According to figures advanced before Lusa by the Mayor, Augusto Marinho, in the 2019 edition, “more than 300 thousand people passed through the village”, attracted by popular swoops, groups that spontaneously or organized perpetuate traditional dances and songs, and by Rodas de Vira, a dance in which the dancers arrange themselves in pairs, in a circle, with raised arms and slowly rotate in the opposite direction of the clock.

According to the social-democratic mayor, this year “the loss of revenue will be around 4.5 million euros”.

In 2016, the former municipal executive, led by the socialist Vassalo Abreu, in homage to popular raids, inaugurated a statue in the center of the village, composed of three bronze figures, about two meters high, by the sculptor Rogério Timóteo .

That tradition, over a hundred years old, is always fulfilled on August 23. Popular swoops are the emblematic number of São Bartolomeu festivals, on an evening dedicated to popular dances and singing.

“Here we say that, that night, the devil walks around in Ponte da Barca,” said Pedro Bragança.

Through the concertinas, the drums, the cavaquinhos and other traditional instruments, the swoops, which count on the participation of more than 80 groups from all over the country, parade and form players’ wheels.

It dances or turns, sings stray in the middle of the street, with a passage through a stage installed in Praça da República.

In 2017, Ponte da Barca placed Vira do Minho in the Guinness Book of Records, by gathering 667 people dancing that choreography, beating the Azorean island of Pico, former holder of the record in the Portuguese folklore category.

Vira is a choreographic musician genre of Portuguese folklore, danced in various regions of the country, but better known as characteristic of Minho.

According to the Portuguese Folklore Portal, in that dance, the pairs of dancers, “arranged in a circle, with raised arms, slowly rotate in the opposite direction of the clock”.

“Men are moving forward and women are moving back. The situation drags on until a dancer’s voice is imposed, shouting out or turning. They turn around inside and face each other with the girl who preceded them. This movement continues until everyone changes pairs, at the same time that the wheel turns, in the same direction ”.

The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 694,000 deaths and infected more than 18.3 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the French agency AFP.

In Portugal, 1,739 people died of the 51,681 confirmed to be infected, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.

After Europe succeeded China as the center of the pandemic in February, the American continent is now the one with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.

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