The Sovereign Mother is a religious festivity held in Loulé in honour to Nossa Senhora da Piedade (Our Lady of Piety) being essentially a procession in which an ostentatious image of the Sovereign Mother standing on top of a heavy portable platform is carried along. This late 16th century image, allegedly carved in wood by a sacred art sculptor from the Algarve, is traditionally carried on the shoulders of the same eight strong men every year.
Firstly, the image of the Sovereign Mother is carried by the eight men along the way from the Santuário da Nossa Sra. Da Piedade to the Igreja de S. Francisco during the Small Celebration on Easter Sunday. Two weeks later, a huge crowd fills the streets during the Big Celebration while taking part in the religious ceremonies and following the Loulé’s saint patron return to the Santuário placed on top of the hill. This touristic, cultural and religious festivity ends with fireworks.