I have to say that I admire the nazarene women. They have always been women who worked hard but also, suffered a lot. They suffered from the cold while waiting for the boats on the beach, they suffered when there were shipwrecks, they suffered when their loved ones lost their lives at sea, when they were in great need at the time that wasn’t allowed to fish. Those were hard times… I had several fishermen in my family and, although I don't have origins in Nazaré, I understand everything that happened.
These women are known for their 7 skirts. And why 7 skirts? There are many theories. They say they are the 7 virtues, the 7 days of the week, the 7 colors of the rainbow. They say they are linked to the number of waves also called "set". They also say that the women had 7 skirts and that it helped count the waves of the sea, because they knew that when they finished counting them, the sea calmed down and the boat could dock and unload on the beach. They also say that the skirts had different lengths, some shorter, others longer, and these were to protect themselves from the cold when waiting for boats on the beach. They covered their heads and arms with the largest skirt, protecting themselves from the cold and the salt air
It is said that the ladies of the court when they visited the Sítio and went to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, they transmitted an idea of beauty that at the time was: round hip and thin waist, hence the number of skirts to taper the silhouette, the arms were covered with white lace. However, its important to say that not every day, is a day to wear 7 skirts. Everyday they wear 3 to 5 skirts, but on special days… it's great… they use 7!
It’s on festivity days that the richness of this tradition is seen. On party days they leave the house with their 7 skirts. They are: 2 white skirts, 3 colored skirts with lace, 1 pleated or blue chintz skirt with a black velvet bar and, finally, a satin apron embroidered with colors. They wear black varnish slippers, a cardigan with white lace sleeves, a black cape and a scarf on their heads, also called a “cachené”. The nazarena, it has to be big, so gold: threads, rings, bracelets, earrings, its a must have.
When I go to Sítio, curiously, I always like to eat some dried fruits, and… my dried fruit dealer is a cool Nazarene! She wears her fantastic 7 skirts every day… and she’s professional in taking pictures with those who visit that place!
Places with soul...