Convento da Penha-our history
Hello Amy, BBC LE team and beloved friends,
I hope you are enjoying the weekend so take a seat because it will be a loooong post!
First of all, Amy, forgive me but I couldn’t understand what you’ve said: “Well done those of you who did the homework… you’ve all done pretty well. Adriana! You forgot to write your answers!”. So I think I’d better remind you that I haven’t forgotten your precious homework. It’s done ( with 2 errors because I only forgot to look at the context, but done). Just look at the end of the blog “Moqueca Capixaba”, it’s there. Anyway, perhaps my posts are too long so that I think I should start my post with the homework, what do you think, Amy?
Homework( you’ve said only one error in each sentence, I’ll risk rewriting them):
1- Why do we women have this attraction and fantasy with firemen?;
2- Me neither (cannot understand that);
3- I think I would love Indian food;
4- Let’s hear a Bossa Nova’s song in the background;
5- I promisse to give you the recipe very soon;
6- Let´s drink Amy’s and her baby’s health;
- an anthropologist: the one who studies the anthropology
- to retreat: to move away from a place in danger;
- a culinary masterpiece: a culinary work of art (an excellent dish);
Amy, I’ve noticed you are interested in religion, so I’ve prepared this blog especially for you to know a bit of our history, and perhaps our readers will like it too.
Writing about “Convento da Penha”in one blog is a challenge for me not only for the emotion that it brings to me but also due to its complex historical, artistic and spiritual meaning implied in it so that I've asked the priest “Antônio Peroni” for help (materials and some pictures). I’m grateful to him for that and for the interview. I’m feeling like a journalist! :-)
The name “Penha” comes from Spanish (peña) referring to “penhasco” (in Portuguese) because it is located at the top of the hill.
It was founded in 1558 by the Spanish priest Pedro Palácios who brought from Spain a painting of “Nossa Senhora das Alegrias ou dos Prazeres”. He settled down here for traditional Christian teaching and lived at the botton of the hill where he built a small place for performing religious ceremonies gathering the locals and the Indigenous people for that.
One day, the painting disappeared from the bottom and was found on the top, between 2 palm trees. They brought it to the bottom over again. But it happened twice again so that the priest understood that it was a sign that he should build a church on the top of the hill.
So he organized a large group of people( locals and Indigenous people) who carried all those heavy stones from the bottom to the top (154m)surrounded by the Atlantic jungle and so they built the "Convento da Penha" there.
Since that time, there have been running a set of masses all day long every day and several processions have been marching here by the time of Convento da Penha’s party in April.
As in life, there are two ways to reach the top. The oldest/shortest way and the longest way which is also an access to the cars. But don’t fool yourself. The shortest is the most difficult to climb due to the accentuated inclination and the curves. It represents the 7 happiness of “Nossa Senhora”.
I prefer climbing the shortest way while meditating. It brings a peace hard to describe. Moreover, on the top of it, you can have the breathtaking view of Vila Velha and Vitória cities and you can be stared in astonishment for contemplating architecture of the "Convento"which reveals ages of history indescribable in one blog, as I have said previously.
However, I’ll tell you just 2 things that brings a lot of emotion to me.
One of the paintings inside the “Convent”shows the day when Vila Velha was attacked in 1640 by the Dutchmen through the painter's eyes. The Dutchmen had already taken the port but when they looked at the “Convento da Penha”, they had the vision of a castle with strong walls and a squad of numerous soldiers with scintilating swords and their horses. It was just their imagination because the “Convento” was simply empty and “unprotected”. They were so frightened that they all desperately ran away to their boats, according to the history.
Another miracle attributable to Nossa Senhora is the fact occured in 1769. There was a huge drought in the state of Espírito Santo. All the rivers and plantations were dry and only the jungle surrounding the “Convento” was vigorous in its fullness so that the Capixabas managed to march praying for rain in procession to the “Convento da Penha”. The locals threw petals of roses at the people and when they just arrived there, the sky became shady pouring with rain and the rivers were filled up with water over again.
Nowadays, by the time of the Penha’s party, we have many processions here of all types: processions of women, of men, of children and so on and annually we have a play in which the Indigenous people and locals take part for reminding us about our history.
I was brought up a Catholic but today I don’t follow any religion. I just believe in God and I think I have a chuch inside my heart but I’m grateful to the catholicism for my character-building.
Apart from religion, the “Convento da Penha” is an intriguing mystical place of peace and harmony and has a special meaning for us Capixabas and we are extremely sad because recently both crowns ( of Nossa Senhora and of Jesus) made of gold were stolen inside the “Convento da Penha”. It’s not only for the money they cost, but also for the historical and sentimental value for us.
Well, my friends, I hope you’ve appreciated this part of our history and I'm planning to answer your nice comments tomorrow, ok? Thank you very much for them. You cannot imagine how they mean to me!
That’s all. Bye friends. See you tomorrow and don't forget to look at all the pictures at the bottom of the post.
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