Celebrations and traditions

São Nicolau, in its isolation, kept its traditions almost intact; in each village it will be easy to find celebrations dedicated to the saints, where the locals cook delicious local dishes in the streets, over a wood fire, and people from the entire island participate to the celebration, which lasts for days, animating the country with music, dances and games.


Carnival Shrove Tuesday, at Ribeira Brava and Tarrafal: takes place along the ways of the island with parades and floats.


Pascoela, at Caleijao and Estancia Baixo: corresponds to the First Sunday after Easter. By tradition, starts with the Mass and the procession, then pouring into the streets, live celebrations are represented by an equestrian competition.

Second Sunday of May:

Nossa Senhora de Monte Cintina, at Cachaço and surrounding areas.

June 24:

Dia de S. Joao Baptista, at Praia Branca and Carvoeiros: takes place in the entire archipelago, attracts hundreds of visitors on the island, including the immigrants which choose this time of the year to come back and enjoy the celebration.

June 29:

Dia de S. Pedro, at Ribeira Brava and Campino: the saint is celebrated like all the other popular saints, with parades and dances. The Sunday after S. Pedro: Dia de S. Pedrinho, at Praia da Prainha.


Music festival, at Praia da Telha and da Prainha: the use of very original musical instruments like a shell or iron, the accordion, Tabanka drums and other acoustic instruments, create an union between the traditional music and the natural evolution of the modern music.


Festival de àgua doce, at Ribeira da Prata.

First Sunday of October:

Nossa Senhora do Rosario, at Ribeira Brava: the highlight of the celebrations is the solemn Mass, followed by a procession; there are also many sports, cultural and recreational activities, animated by the locals.

First Sunday of December:

Dia de S. Francisco, at Tarrafal.

December 6:

Dia do Municipio, at Ribeira Brava.

The Baptism is a special day, and the "guarda-cabeça" tradition is very peculiar; “guarda-cabeça” means guarding the head. It takes place at midnight between the sixth and seventh day after the birth and its purpose is to protect the child’s head against the negative influences of witches and evil spirits, making noises, eating and dancing.