The Epiphany festivities in the Portuguese town of Vale de Salgueiro include a custom that every year causes an objection among pariahs: Parents empowering their kids, some as youthful as 5, to smoke cigarettes.
Local people say the training has been passed down for quite a long time as a major aspect of a festival of life attached to the Christian Epiphany and the winter solstice — yet no one is certain what it symbolizes or precisely why guardians purchase the packs of cigarettes for their kids and urge them to partake.
The two-day festivities, which begin Friday and end Saturday with a Mass, incorporate moving around campfires, a flautist playing music and a chose “ruler” who conveys abundant wine and tidbits.
The legitimate age to buy tobacco in Portugal is 18, however nothing precludes guardians from giving children cigarettes and Portuguese experts don’t mediate to stop the training.
Guilhermina Mateus, a 35-year-old café proprietor, refers to custom as the motivation behind why she gives her girl cigarettes.
“I can’t clarify why. I don’t perceive any damage in that since they don’t generally smoke, they breathe in and promptly breathe out, obviously,” Mateus said Saturday. “What’s more, it’s just on nowadays, today and tomorrow. They never request cigarettes again.”
Jose Ribeirinha, an essayist who has distributed a book on the Vale do Salgueiro merriments, said the underlying foundations of the custom are obscure, however may need to do with praising the resurrection of nature and human life.
He said the town is in a locale that holds fast to numerous customs going back to agnostic circumstances, and that since Roman circumstances, amid the winter solstice period villagers here have taken the freedom to do things that would be strange in whatever is left of the year.
Ribeirinha likewise trusts the relative separation of the remote town — 450 kilometers (280 miles) upper east of the capital Lisbon — has helped keep the convention alive. He said that the encompassing Tras os Montes district “has dependably been the furthest from Lisbon, the most ‘overlooked one.'”
Portugal, in the same way as other European nations, has found a way to diminish smoking, including a fractional restriction on smoking inside.