Mãe Soberana Festa Grande
Festival of Nossa Senhora da Piedade in Loulé
For more than 500 years, the festival of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, the patroness of Loulé, known as Mãe Soberana (Sovereign Mother), has been celebrated in Loulé for two weeks starting on Easter Sunday. This festival of the local patroness of the region is considered the largest religious demonstration in Portugal, south of Fátima.
Festa Pequena (Easter Sunday)
The procession begins with the recitation of a rosary at the chapel Nossa Sra. da Piedade. Then the statue of Mae Soberana is carried down to the church of S. Francisco The procession to the strains of an orchestra, an accelerated march, is not at all easy due to the steep and narrow winding road.
The statue remains in the church for 15 days until the Festa Grande.
The ceremony starts with a High Mass celebrated by the bishop of the Algarve at the municipal park of Loulé. Then the procession between the city and the sanctuary on top of a small hill west of Loulé is performed as a quick march, to the sound of music specifically created for this spectacular occasion. A crowd of thousands of believers with white handkerchiefs and spectators from all over the Algarve, the neighbouring Alentejo and other places get together to celebrate and to marvel at this impressive event.
Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade