The festival in honour of Nossa Senhora da Escudeira, which dates from time immemorial, was established and organised in around 1750, when the Chapel was built. This popular pilgrimage has been identified as the oldest in the municipality of Palmela and is the only one to preserve its original characteristics, mixing the godly with the ungodly, in the form of traditional dances and games.

The festival originally went on for three days – Saturday, Sunday and Monday – and by 1930 there was in fact a festival for single people and one for married couples. For married couples, it was held on the first weekend of August while for singles, it was held on the first or last weekend of September. The Loureiros Philharmonic played and a “garraiada”, a race with young bulls, was held in an improvised square. Unfortunately, the singles festival was not held in 1930  because of a fire that started when a knocked-over candlestick set the decorations alight and the flames spread into the old mansion to which the Chapel belonged. Only the walls of the mansion and the Chapel were left standing. The Chapel was later restored in around 1936.

Today, the popular traditional festival of Escudeira goes on for three days of entertainment and religious worship and is held on the weekend closest to 15 August. The festival programme includes the opening, with the presence of representatives from the Palmela Municipal Council and Parish Council and other figures from the municipality, followed by a toast with bonbons and Moscatel wine served to everyone present. There is no lack of fêtes, festivities and dancing – with music provided by various folk music groups – or of old Portuguese-style cavalhadas [traditional horse races], bicycle tours, table football tournament and games of chinquilho [which involves throwing a metal disc at a pin in the ground to dislodge it]. There is also an Escudeira BTT Level 3 Night Tour along the trails of Arrábida National Park, beginning and ending at the Escudeira Festival enclosure. On the Sunday, there is a gathering of pilgrims at the Chapel, followed by the rosary, procession and mass in the festival square, with the image of Nossa Senhora da Escudeira returning to the Chapel after the service.

The Festival welcomes hundreds of visitors of all ages each year here, where they revisit their origins and reencounter family and friends.

The Escudeira Festival, as part of the region’s culture heritage, has the support of the Palmela Municipal Council and Parish Council and of Arrábida National Park. It is a non-profit festival and all the festival earnings are channelled by the Escudeira Festival Committee into funding the event.