In the religious calendar predominant in Portugal, there is a secular tradition that can still be seen today in the center of the country. Based on a cultural system of consecration of the memory of the dead, the Encomendação das Almas (EdA) is part of the long period of Lent (40 days), which keeps the ancestors close and the dialogue with death.

The belief in the survival of the soul after death, and in the possibility of establishment of communication between Humans and non-Humans, is the substrate of this cultural manifestation of popular nature.

The EdA consists of sung prayers, in a murmur of appeal, intended to establish relational dimensions and interconnections with the invisible audience of souls who suffer agonies in purgatory. The ritual, which aims to facilitate the ascension of the specters that wander in limbo from purgatory to paradise, there is in that (purgatory) its dominant symbol.

The clerical institutionalization of purgatory in the high middle ages rationalized the “wandering itineraries” of the souls of the dead, ordering a “multiplicity of spaces” consigned to the afterlife: paradise, hell, and, an intermediate space, the purgatory.

This project was carried out in the village of Corgas, in the municipality of Proença-a-Nova, in May 2022, and proposes to make known the universe of this animist ritual, through portraits of people who are an integral part of the groups that still today carry this tradition. (The village of Corgas is currently one of the very few places where the EdA is held every Lent night).