“Georges! Come and see my country of
Look ate those girls, look at these Marias*!
Wow! Pinch them!
Their body, see! They’re goldsmitheries,
Greed and lust of the Manéis*!
They have in their ears thick ‘arrecadas’,
In their hands (with gloves), thirty coins in
Round their necks, serpents of strings,
And on their chests, among crosses, as
Beyond their own, thirty hearts more!
Come on Georges, turn yourself into a Manel!
Take your guitar!
In Só from
The popular names for the woman and
man from Viana do Castelo are Maria and Manel respectively.
The gold in the Minho’s woman’s chest is not
only an ornament but or a symbol of vanity – it is her best
symbol of wealth. It’s a splendour, because, “the Minho’s
woman’s chest is a sky full of stars”. It is so in such a way
that D. António Costa, in No Minho, states: ‘One can
speak about registrations, bank shares, interests from lending
money, burying it in the backyard, all of that is like talking
Greek to her. The heart of the woman from Minho loves her
boyfriend; her imagination dreams about her gold.”
To go to the Notary in order to formalize a
certain business, specially as far as the selling of property is
concerned, forces the women of the two parts to present
themselves ‘ouradas’ (=covered with gold) with some exaggeration
(not much), to show the society that: if they sell, it’s not of
financial need; if they buy, they didn’t have to let go of their
To go to the fair to negotiate the products
of their farm work – some eggs, a couple of hens, a quarter of
beans (divided into two bags, in half-quarters, to make it easy
to sell), half a ‘raza’ (ancient measure/weight unit) or a
‘raza’ of potatoes, a ‘talha’ (ancient measure/weight unit) of
grease or bacon , some sausages, who knows what else! – one has
to consider that as work, but a different one, in which good
appearance is important, also to the best development of the
business trades. Don’t forget it: the ‘good area’ that
differentiates her from the ‘cabaneira’ (=poor woman) is
important for a good acceptation of the goods she’s selling.
Don’t you hear it so often – “I’ve bought it because of the good
air of the ‘lavradeira’ (= woman farmer). I saw that it was
something trustworthy!” the ‘air’ of who was selling could be
evaluated by the clothes and their clean appearance, as well as
by the gold she was wearing – if little, it would give an
exaggerated appearance of poverty; if much, she could be called
‘alevantada’ (=wanting to appear wealthier than she really was).
All in the right measure.