The culture of São Tomé and Príncipe is, like its people, the mixture of European and African. One unique example is our Tchiloli.
|The typical plays or performances tchiloli and Auto de Floripes are authentic anachronisms from the colonial culture adapted to modern African environment.Auto de Floripes, which takes place in the month of August (15th and the following Sunday) on the island of Principe, involves the whole population in the dramatic battle between Christians and Moors, with a surprising turn at the end of the story.
What concerns music and dance , an influence supposedly from the former Kingdom of Congo, is the Danço Congo, samba imported from Brazil, puita from Cape Verde, socopé, formerly a dance of the Portuguese colonist elite, and others, mainly from the former Portuguese colonies.
||The bulaué is most likely of Angolan origin. The music as well as dance of STP are continuously receiving a great deal of influence from the other Portuguese speaking areas, namely Cape Verde and Brazil, but there are also acoustic traditional bands like Sangazuza, having the particularity of writing their lyrics in the Creole language of São Tomé.|
Within arts, the plantation of Sao João dos Angolares as well as the gallery Teia d'Arte, among others, are working to promote sculptures in wood.
In literature, STP has made itself known within the Portuguese speaking area, with writers like Alda de Espírito Santo and Albertino Bragança. The latter dealing with contemporary society in Rosa do Riboque for example.Many places it is also possible to buy souvenirs made of the large sea turtles' shell, but tourists are asked not to support this trade, as the turtles are an endangered species.
|Gastronomy in STP has a chapter of its own. The traditional stews include often more than 20 different aromatic and medicinal plants, and take many hours to prepare. The typical ingredients in Santomean food are : Fish (fresh, salted, smoked or sun dried) goat, pork (fresh or salted) or chicken.
These can be accompanied by beans, rice, bananas (ripe, green, fried, boiled, grilled or mashed), breadfruit and manioc flour among others. Food is traditionally served with palm wine.
Dishes that you must not miss are:
|Izaquente - a stew on ground seeds from the izaquenteiro
Calulu - a vegetable stew with herbs and breadfruit usually with fish or chicken
Molho de fogo - a vegetable stew on smoked fish
Peixesalgado - salted fish in palm oil
Gandu cozido - boiled shark
Andala assada or the variety barriga assada - grilled swordfish
Voador frito - fried flying fish
Feijoada à moda da terra - bean stew on smoked fis
| Con-Con assado - a small ugly fish that should be eaten grilled with hot palm oil, lime,chili and plenty of baked breadfruit.
A popular starter is buzios snails in a spicy sauce or pala-pala crisps made from matabala (a root similar to manioc) or bananas. Omelet with herbs and dried fish is also very popular.
|Another cultural element not to miss, is a saints festival celebrated with religious ceremonies, traditional dishes, music and dance. Please see the calendar below for the most important festivals.|
|10th of January||Santo Isidoro||Ribeira Afonso|
|15th of January||Santo Amaro||Santo Amaro|
|Last weekend of January||Sao Pedro||City of São Tomé|
|1st-2nd of May||Deus Pai||Trindade|
|30th of July||Santa Ana||Santana|
|9th-10th of August||Nossa Senhora das Neves||Neves|
|15th of August||Santa Pelegrina||Batepá|
|1st of September||Nazaré||Trindade|
|8th of September||Madre Deus||Madredeus1|
|9th-10th of September||Bom Despacho||City of São Tomé|
|15th of October||Santa Terezinha||Santo Amaro|
|28th-29th of October||Santo Jordão||Praia Melão|
|21st of December||Santo Tomé||City of São Tomé|