Chapter 08
from A Raia
1. O lanzo da cruz

Not far from the river, in the neighbourhood of Torrón, the first beats of the drums are sounding. It is the sign that Lanzo da Cruz is beginning, a procession that has been held since time immemorial every Easter Monday and that nowadays is only celebrated in two communities in the Raia: the parish of Sobrada (Tomiño) and Cristevo do Covo (Valença do Minho).

The meeting takes place in the middle of the river. The music from both banks melds together, just like the crosses of the parish priests in charge of blessing the river. The ritual gets underway: for a good fishing year and for the boatmen to be protected against all danger. On a bright sunny day, we must not forget the river’s threats, the massive boulders and the thick fog which have drowned so many. In gratitude, the boatmen make their best attempts to catch a precious offering.

2. The Width of a Net

Twenty-five metres, no more, is enough for everything to flow. By tacit agreement, Galician and Portuguese fishermen threw their nets for decades, taking the waiting times in turns in the same river. We have collated their memories, generation after generation, in these videos. Napoleão and Alberto talk to us from the riverbank at Vilanova de Cerveira, in Portugal. Albita, Manolo and Nando do so from nearby Goián, in Spain. Recollections of their hard work and dedication and, in their moments of rest, festive processions and encounters on the island of love.

Two Friends:
Napoleão & Alberto

Both clearly remember the day they met, on their first day at school. Since then, their lives have been intertwined in a to and fro of experiences and professions. Now they spend their days close to the Minho, keeping alive the trade they inherited: fishing in the river.

The Distance Marked by a Net

At 78, Albita Rodríguez has no doubts about the values and the rules of fishing in cross-border waters. Sitting on the banks of the Minho she shares her memories, accompanied by her son Manolo and by Nando, another neighbour from Goián. Two generations reliving the prosperous times, a trade whose end they presage is very near.

Eliseo Alonso


c. 1930-1950 (?)

Arquivo Eliseo Alonso
Agradecemento a Alicia Alonso

3. Ilha dos amores

Casitas brancas do Minho
Onde guardam os tesouros,
As fadas d’olhos azuis
E lindos cabelos loiros.
Filtros de beijos em flor,
Corações de namoradas,
Nas casas brancas do Minho
Guardam ciosas as fadas

Florbela Espanca
No Minho (1894-1930)

Jorge Marçal da Silva

Ilha da Boega e Ilha dos Amores, no rio Minho

c. 1900

Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa