Celebrated on the 1st of May, Maias and Maios, are generally framed within the Spring festivities, common to several European countries. The feminine and masculine forms of the noun, refer to different practices of the same celebration, which varies substantially according to the geographic and social context where they develop. The literature about the festivities of Maias in Portugal has prospected them as rituals to remark the end of Winter and the beginning of a new agricultural year, representing them as specific "traditions" of each region, with the explicit purpose of promoting its conservation and dissemination. On the other hand, my proposal aims to study the Maias Feasts, not as static heritage, but as an alive and symbolic expression, part of a dynamic cultural process, socially constructed and drawn by human, political and historical forces, depending on power relations. (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 2004; Bortolotto, 2007).
Practices and Politics of Culture