Xávega, the art of dragging

Rua Bairro da Marinha | 4500-068 Silvalde 40°59'52.9"N 8°38'48.3"W


Xávega, the art of dragging is used on this beach.

The net is formed by a finer mesh where fish is trapped. The boat go into the sea, leaving the end of a rope on land, and when it is 3 or 4 km from the coast, the net is thrown.

After this operation, fishermen return to the coast, bringing the other end of the rope on the boat. They join the two rope ends and pull the boat with oxen or tractors, resembling agricultural work.

When the net reaches the ground, fish are separated and organized into small batches to be sold, usually accompanied by the harmless curse of our "Vareiras". This picturesque show of selling fish is performed in sets and in such a hurry that only sellers and "Vareiras" understand it.

Our women ("Vareiras") set towards the streets, walk elegantly through the city with a basket on their heads, proclaiming the sale through a song...

Come watch and participate in this recreation of our history.

You can also visit the permanent exhibition that includes the collection of Arte-Xávega, shown at the Municipal Museum of Espinho.


For fishermen who uses this art, there are two appropriate seasons for doing so during the year:
  • From November to March, when men remain on land preparing their nets with their own technique and engage in other activities (such as agriculture, construction and other fishing activities);
  • From April to October, when around 15 men meet; some of them go into to the sea (usually 8), while others remain on land extending the nets and preparing them for the next route or choosing fish from the previous route, among other tasks.