Throughout the year, the Municipality of Batalha hosts a diverse range of cultural events. Those who visit Batalha will have a whole host of events waiting for them, from handicraft and food fairs, to local product shows, historical reconstructions, theatre and folklore festivals, and concerts, among many others. And these activities are interspersed with the many religious and pagan traditions organised by the community – there’s never a dull day in Batalha!
The old “ Janeiras” tradition has been brought back in recent years, thanks to musical groups in the hills of São Mamede and Batalha coming together once again. The groups meet in front of the Paços do Concelho building every year to sing the “Janeiras” (January song) and wish their fellow townspeople a happy new year.
The ridicule and the originality shown by the Municipality’s Associations and Schools are put to the test every year in the carnival “corso” (Parade) that takes place in the Village of Batalha. Hundreds of townspeople take part in the parade of floats, which attracts a large audience of onlookers, making it one of the most watched parades in the region.
These festivities are held eight weeks after Easter Sunday, as per the church calendar. The celebration is based on a legend that explains how a pest of insects attacked the barns of Dominican friars, and how the tragedy was remedied. Due to the origins of the festival, blessed “merendeiras” (bread rolls) are thrown out during the procession when it passes through Carvalho do Outeiro road, which is in the centre of the town of Batalha. Onlookers catch and keep these “merendeiras” throughout the year, in order to keep moths and other insects out of their wardrobes. The festivities are an interesting religious celebration, where an “ Emperor” leads the procession of offerings with richly decorated trays.
Our Lady of Fetal is celebrated in September / October in the village of Reguengo do Fetal. In this town, the feast of the Lady of Fetal is a particularly beautiful celebration, thanks to the processions that carry the image of the Saint from the Parish Church to
the Chapel of Our Lady of Fetal, and then back again 8 days later. These processions have also become renowned thanks to the unusual way in which they are lit – through thousands of snail shells that decorate the floor, walls and hills of the mountain town.
A guiding light for the people of Rebolaria, the “Encamisada” festival is held every two years and consists of a night parade during which the “angels” (children dressed in white and mounted on white donkeys) worship Saint Anthony. Residents decorate the village richly in preparation for this celebration.
The Batalha Handicraft and Food Fair is an annual event organised by the Municipality where visitors and tourists alike delight in the region’s traditional food and handicrafts, as well as a whole host of options for entertainment. Craftsmen can be seen hard at work, and visitors can watch as typical dishes from all over the Municipality are made, as the food provided at the festival is made exclusively by organisations.
Every year, on one of the last Sundays of September, the town of Batalha welcomes a 19th century market into the Mouzinho de Albuquerque Square. This initiative brings together over 300 people from various folk groups in the municipality and the region. Products sold at the market include bread baked in woodfired ovens, barrels of wine, live animals, fruits and vegetables and traditional sausages from the region.
In August, the Batalha Festivals bring the town itself and the surrounding municipality to life. The 14th August, which is the municipal holiday, is the main event, marking the Portuguese victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota. A celebration that really cannot be missed, the biggest names in Portuguese music are always present to perform the most memorable of concerts. This event also brings together hundreds of people who have moved away from the Municipality at the Annual Meeting of Emigrants and the showcasing of the municipality’s economic operations.
The Mouzinho de Albuquerque Square, which in the heart of the town of Batalha, hosts the Book and Game Fair every year. The event is very lively, with entertainment filling the streets in the form of various street theatre shows. At the Book Fair you’ll find a huge selection of books of the most diverse genres published by the publishers represented in the available spaces, among which are best selling Portuguese and international books.