We were in Alcoutim in a festive day, with signs of previous religious events. The funny thing was the music - it was present but from distance, coming from Spain, in the opposite bank of the river.
Coincidence, or the short distance allows to share celebrations?
When the border between Spain and Portugal was closed, smuggling was a popular albeit dangerous way of making ends meet. The Spanish and Portugese were eager to bury the hatchet and help one another in this enterprise. People smuggled manufactured goods as well as foodstuffs such as coffee, meat and butter. the goods were usually hidden under other things not likely to be inspected, such as manure. They were transported over land on donkeys, following the donkey trails. To get across the river people usually swam, carrying the goods on their head or, more often, in purpose-made watertight bags. They also carried a set of dry clothers which they changed into as soon as possible upon reaching the other side, to hide the fact that they had been swimming.
If you are a knight and happen to be in Alcoutim on the night of the 17th of March, try this: climb up to the old Islamic castle (these days you have to climb a fence as well to get there :-), and pass between two old olive trees. A monster will appear that you will have to kill with your sword, thus releasing an enchanted Moorish princess!
This handicrafts fair usually takes place in the second week of June. Food, ceramics, traditional clothes, bags and jewellery, music and dances, demonstrations of weaving and pottery etc: it's all there.
Last year they prepared roast "javalí" (wild boar) and "pão com chouriço" (a type of traditional sausage roll) on the spot. Mmmm.
The second week of September sees a colourful annual five-day "festa", with sports events, folklore, big barbecues, music, dancing, and loads of fireworks. Alcoutenejos like to party until the sun rises, when hot chocolate is served on the quay.