| History of the parish |
The Maia parish, municipality of Ribeira Grande, is located on the north coast of São Miguel island, in the Azores. The population is around 2000 inhabitants.
It occupies 22 km2 surface, being the most extensive parish in the district.
At Maia belong the places of Lombinha da Maia, Gorreana and Calços da Maia. In the XVI century Fenais da Ajuda (previously known as Fenais da Maia), Furnas and Lomba da Maia (only in the early twentieth century became parish), also belonged to Maia.
Geologically, Maia is a volcanic fajã (volcanic flatland near the sea) created 10,000 years ago.
The name Maia was due to its founder, Inês Maia, an aristocrat who began the colonization process at the end of the fifteenth century.
The settlement took place soon after the discovery of S. Miguel island, witnessed by the church which in 1522 already had its third vicar.
Maia is one of the oldest parishes of Ribeira Grande municipality and it is the area that has been developed more quickly in a short time, due to its fertile land, having the best crops of São Miguel island, and to a very productive seaport. Maia was one of the parishes where industry had a significant weight in the economic activity, highlighting the tobacco, tea and cement blocks factories. In Maia was founded one of the first azorean passenger transport companies.
At the social level, on 27th October of 1919, in Maia was created the Brotherhood Installing Committee, currently known as Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Divino Espírito Santo da Maia (SCMDESM), which in 1943 launched the first stone of the Hospital that was inaugurated on 24th September of 1944. With the acquisition of the pharmacy in 1946, the SCMDESM supports the population from Porto Formoso to Fenais da Ajuda.
The first male school was established in 1860, followed by the women school in 1877. In January of 1890, both schools were considered a major hub for the development of primary education. The schools, firstly located in private houses, received new buildings on December 1 of 1951, named of “Plano dos Centenários”. In 2000, in Maia was inaugurated a basic school, which supports not only Maia's population but also the surrounding locals.
The Social and Cultural Center promotes cultural conferences, seminars and other events.
Economic activities with more relief are Agro-livestock, fishing, tea industry, commerce, housing tourism and catering.
The Catholic population celebrates the Feast of Senhor dos Passos, in the 4th Sunday of Lent, the Feast of Espírito Santo on the Monday of the Holy Spirit day, the Feast of Santíssimo on the penultimate Sunday of July and the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, on the first Sunday of October.
According to the pastor of the parish, there are 14 processions a year.