VALE DE SALGUEIRO, Portugal — The Epiphany celebrations in the Portuguese village of Vale de Salgueiro feature a tradition that each year causes an outcry among outsiders: Parents encouraging their children, some as young as 5, to smoke cigarettes.
Locals say the practice has been passed down for centuries as part of a celebration of life tied to the Christian Epiphany and the winter solstice — but nobody is sure what it symbolizes or exactly why parents buy the packs of cigarettes for their children and encourage them to take part.
Rightly so the internet is enraged at the annual Epiphany celebrations in Portugal. The shocking photos of kids as young as 5 smoking cigarettes has been circling the internet. The legal smoking age is 18 but the police there seem to not care as long as the parents are the ones supplying the smoke.