Last year we returned to England in late April and whilst the reasons for our early departure were excellent, I was disappointed we missed May Day as the previous year not only did we have a superb lunch at Vai e Volta with my wonderful friend Jayne and her hubby but we discovered ‘Maios‘ on the EN125 between Marim and Alfandanga. Both are unmissable! Well today we could only manage one as it is Monday and so Vai e Volta isn’t open, but we did have great fun this morning in joining in the EN125 chaos for a while.
You will find May Day celebrations happening throughout the Algarve, and I am sure most of the others are taking place in far safer locations than this one. However the chaos of slow moving (mostly) cars and people meandering all over the place, does add somehow to the charm of this ‘Maios’.
The tradition of creating “Maios” dolls in Olhão is apparently only 33 years old; the origins of straw dolls appearing on 1st May though are much older. You’ll find them across Europe, and as someone reminded me last year even in England we have scarecrow village trails. I’m not sure anyone really knows why dolls on May day, but the favoured view seems that they originated from Roman festivals celebrating spring and fecundity. Here in the Algarve the dolls tend to reflect local life and/or social criticism rather than the coming of spring. I am unsure if that is because the Algarve has always been strong on social and political criticism, or whether it is because the Algarvian spring arrives much earlier than May!
What I do know it that the dolls are usually set up shortly before sunrise, and if we are here next year on May Day I think we will definitely head out early morning rather than mid morning as we did today. As whilst the chaos is fun we did have to have eyes in the back of our heads at times!
Hope you have enjoyed this as we much as we did. I do have more photographs but as this is my second post today I thought I’d keep them for another day.