Mr. Nazareth Goes To Nazareth
Nazare Travel Blog› entry 7 of 79 › view all entries
As stated earlier, several people believe that for all original inhabitants of a given country, there is, generally speaking, one culture per country. However with India, we Indians share our origin as a country but our cultures vary widely. Hindus comprise about 80% of the population followed by 15% of Muslims, 2.3% of Christians and then other small religious groups such as those belonging to Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, etc. A lot of Indian cultures are heavily influenced by religion. India was rated the most multidimensional by the United Nations, in part due to the vast number of different Indian cultures, sometimes having permutations and combinations of various cultural norms between each other. However many Indian Christian cultures are reasonably different to the mainstream cultures of India.
I was partnered up in the bus with a Portuguese bloke Ernest Deus. Deus in Portuguese means God. We got talking and he decided to abandon his plans to study for the rest of his day and instead show me his little town Nazaré (Nazareth is the English name).
Nazareth is a popular tourist attraction, advertising itself as a picturesque seaside village. Located on the Atlantic coast, it has long sandy beaches (considered by some to be among the best beaches of Portugal), crowded with tourists in the summer.
According to the legend of Nazaré, the town derives its name from a small statue of the Virgin Mary, a Black Madonna, brought by a monk in the 4th century from Nazareth, Syria Palaestina to a monastery near the city of Mérida, Spain and brought to its current place in 711 by another monk accompanied by Roderic, the last Visigoth king. After their arrival at the seaside, they decided to become hermits. The monk lived and died in a small natural grotto, on top of a cliff above the sea.
Ernest Deus drove me around in his car and he talked about his life in sunny Portugal stating he was happy with what he had. He did not wish to leave Portugal unlike what a reasonable number of Portuguese people wish. He asked me to return in a week and we'd go fishing, however I would be down in the Algarve by then and I'd be moving against my direction of travel, against time and to an extent against chasing summer and so I declined. He took me to his favourite restaurant where amongst other Portuguese dishes we consumed the stone soup. Apparently in the old days this soup was served to you with a stone at the bottom of the soup.
Mr. Deus also invited me to take part in a Portuguese tradition that he was performing over the next few days in a charming remote village called Soure. This tradition involves some alcohol distilling / fermenting while you drink beer and eat typical Portuguese food. They then sell that fermented / distilled alcohol or whatever it is to others. For someone who absolutely loves partaking in cultural related activities, I was hell bent on doing this. However the train time tables and several other omens in my travel life's path kept indicating it was not appropriate to go to Soure and so this did not eventuate unfortunately.
I inquired with Ernest if there were any Nazareths still living in this town and he stated there were none as far as he knew (although I later found 3 in the Lisboa telephone directory). Could I use that phrase ‘sons of the soil’ to describe my connection to Nazareth? I couldn’t be sure and so I playfully tested the soil or rather the sand here in Nazareth while pondering if any of my ancestors seriously did come from here. I contemplated that this is a holiday spot, a fishing & touristic destination, just as is the case with Goa. They like their pork and fish here just the same as Goa. A lot of Portuguese people themselves have holiday homes here just as several Bombay Catholics, originally from Goa have their ancestral / holiday homes in Goa too. Needless to say, both places are catholic. Being one who is catholic who loves holidays, eating fish & pork, whose last name is Nazareth and the friend I made here who stated he would support me in any way he could and who invited me back ‘anytime’, this Nazareth felt the subtle but strong connection to Nazareth.