A Festive and Celebratory Sweet Bread of Azores Islands: From the Pledge to the Sharing

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The archipelago of the Azores is composed of 9 islands located in the Atlantic Ocean. Each island has its own strong cultural identity and specific geographical, geological and environmental characteristics. The habits of these islands have been influenced by the strong immigration to the U.S.A. and Canada. However, their eating habits have changed very little. Each island has its own specific gastronomy but they all have just one sweet in common: Massa Sovada (a type of sweet bread). Wherever the Azoreans are, massa sovada is present. We can find it in all festivities and gatherings. It has always been associated with festivities and offerings. It functions as the unification element between communities. However, each island can give it a different name. This archipelago celebrates the Cult of The Holy Ghost. All communities get together each year to prepare the communal feast, share food and present the offerings to the divinity. Massa sovada is always present. This research analyses the symbolic meaning of such a food, as an offering to the divinity and a sharing act between family members and neighbors, during the Holy Ghost Feasts, weddings, baptisms and pig-slaughtering. It registers its function as an identity element of the Azores Islands.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication18th IUAES Word Congress
Subtitle of host publication18º Congresso Mundial de Antropologia
EditorsMiriam Grossi, Simone Lira da Silva
Place of PublicationFlorianópolis
PublisherInternational Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) | Associação Brasileira de Antropologia (ABA)
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-85-62946-96-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event18º Congresso Mundial de Antropologia IUAES - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil
Duration: 16 Jul 201820 Jul 2018


Conference18º Congresso Mundial de Antropologia IUAES
Internet address


  • Ritual food
  • Massa sovada (Sweet bread)
  • Azores
  • Pledges


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