© Pedro Menezes
© Pedro Menezes
© Câmara Municipal do Porto Santo
© Neide Paixão
© Câmara Municipal do Porto Santo
© Élvio Sousa
© Susana Fontinha
© Élvio Sousa
© Francisco Fernandes
© António Aguiar
© Susana Fontinha
© Élvio Sousa
© Pedro Menezes
© Filipe Viveiros
© Élvio Sousa
© Pedro Menezes

Legends and stories

 

THE LEGEND OF THE IMAGE OF SAINT PETER

Legend has it that a long time ago, a shepherd was tending to his flock near the Ribeiro da Quebrada stream, above the Chapel of Saint Peter. He went to drink water from a spring that was there and found the image of Saint Peter. He immediately went to tell authorities and the image was taken in procession to the main Church. However, as if by a miracle the image reappeared in the same stream. It was then decided to build a Chapel at that place in his honour. It is important to note that the image would sometimes appear with its back to the door and on other occasions with its back to the altar.

The Chapel of Saint Peter © Pedro Menezes

 

THE LEGEND OF THE PICO DE ANA FERREIRA (ANA FERREIRA PEAK)

It is said that Ana Ferreira was the bastard daughter of D. João II and was sent to Porto Santo, and given the Pico (peak) where the animals grazed. When she was told of the gift, she exclaimed “So I will receive the peak to graze animals?” and someone answered “My lady, you will not only receive the peak and the pastures, you will receive the lands for farming that are irrigated with rain water”, because it was from that peak that the people harvested the cereals and the grapes.

 Ana Ferreira Peak (c) Susana Fontinha

THE LEGEND OF OUR LADY OF GRACE

One day, someone found an image of Our Lady, stuck in a rock, near Casinhas. They tried several times to take it to the Main Church but the next day, the image would reappear in the original place. And so began the construction of a chapel at the site where the image would appear

 

.The Chapel of Our Lady of Grace (c) Pedro Menezes

 

THE LEGEND OF THE KING D. SEBASTIÃO

People used to say that the king D. Sebastião would appear on a Thursday on the day of Saint John. On that day the city of Funchal would be destroyed and the stairs of the Monte would serve as a pier. It was prophesized that he would appear on a beautiful beach (Porto Santo) and that on that day the people would have to run away without looking back, lest they be turned into marble stone.

THE LEGEND OF THE BULLS

Passed down from generation to generation, legend says that when the population spotted pirate ships off the coast of the island, they brought their cattle down to the beach and at nightfall tied torches to their horns, creating the illusion of a great number of inhabitants. Faced with this, the pirates didn’t dare invade the island and sailed away.

 

THE PROPHETS

In 1533, a man named Fernando or Fernão Nunes who lived in Porto Santo was posing as a prophet inspired by the Holy Spirit, whom he claimed guided his steps and dictated his words. He was accompanied by his niece called Filipa Nunes who was 17 years old. One night they came down from the hills to the village, with a bell in hand. Many people gathered to find out what was happening, Fernão Nunes would point out the sins they had committed and he was believed not only by the ignorant people but also by judges, councilmen and the more important men on the island. The people, influenced by the false prophet dedicated themselves exclusively to religion, praying fervently for the remission of their sins, abandoning their animals and losing their means of sustenance. When news of these strange facts reached the island of Madeira, the Magistrate, João de Fonseca went to the island, accompanied by two scribes. He arrested the two prophets and sent them to jail in Machico. They were later sent to Évora, where they were judged and their sentence was to stand on the steps of the Cathedral of Évora, during the celebration of the mass with a sign that said: “Prophet of Porto Santo”. Since then the title has not fallen in disuse and the people of Porto Santo are still called “The Prophets”.

 

 

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