Many Carnival societies are seduced by Rio?s rituals, and borrow them back. But in the untouristed, terraced hills of the Alto Douro, customs are more consistent with Portugal?s Celtic origins. The Lenten calendar and harvest cycle are intertwined, and Entrudo brings masquerade, poetry, parody, and the purging of winter.
Carnival in Lazarim is celebrated as in old times, is synonymous with merry making, masks and licentiousness. The rivalry between the Compadres (men's groups) and the Comadres (women's groups) marks this little village festivities. Masks are made by 4 men in alder wood and are different from year to year. Carnival is preceeded by Compadres and the Comadres week when the 2 associations try to raise funds for the feast and prepare in total secrecy the "testaments" which will be read on "Fat Tuesday". The rivalry begins on "Fat Sunday" afternoon. The masked participants arrive, the bands play, the decorated cars jam up, the folk dancing begins and parade of "Giants" take place. On "Fat Tuesday" the Compadres and Comadres appear in public, and begin to read the testaments. These are rhyming verses of verbal battles between the sexes. They are full of innuendoes, jokes and naughtiness. After these are read, the effigies are burned and the parade goes on to the main square where the grand finale will take place. The party then finishes with bean stew, soup and wine.