On Ash Wednesday starts the Lent season. During these 5 weeks it is common to see groups of men walking and chanting thorugh the villages of São Miguel.
These pilgrims called "Romeiros" each year reaffirm their faith circling the island on foot and praying.
In 1522 the first capital, Vila Franca do Campo, was shacked by a strong earthquake.
The volcanic eruption that came afterwards was very heavy that from the 4.500 inhabitants only 500 survived. 40 years later another strong eruption originated Lagoa do Fogo. Since then there are information that groups of man with walk around the island praying for God's assistance and guidance.
The "ranchos de "Romeiros" are composed of children and older men and star organising themselves right after Christmas.
There is a "Mestre" and all are "Irmãos".
For a week these men take a bag with the more essential things and sleep in house of volunteer people at the end of each day.
Traditionally the host would wash their sore feet. Besides the cloth bag they transport a "bordão", wooden stick to help them walk, a scarf and shawl. As they walk they stop at chapels and churches and pray in a special ritual. On the 8th day they arrive at the departure point.
This year of 1997 the Bishop of the Azores Islands will be part of a Rancho.