Art and Architecture Festivals Flora & Fauna

The ‘carpet strollers’ of São Brás de Alportel

Ressuscitou como disse. Aleluia, aleluia, aleluia!

Unlike the red carpets at theatrical premiers however the attention was on the carpets not those who were strolling up and down beside them prior to the parade. And no wonder – these carpets are far more stunning than the ones you find at theatrical premiers and they smelt gorgeous too. I took over ninety photographs of them all. Don’t worry I am not going to share all ninety here, only half!

It was much busier this year than previous years, and by the time we arrived there were already a lot of ‘carpet strollers’ promenading. Strollers all walk to the side, in between the ‘runners’ or like me do a bit of both as we attempt to photograph everything. Everyone is very careful not to touch the carpet before the parade, as only the torch bearers walk on the carpets themselves. The carpets are as you can see mostly flora, but in places there are brightly coloured wood chippings to help create many of the patterns and religious symbols.

This beautiful work of art stretches over two kilometres through São Brás de Alportel, and I find it extraordinary that it is created in less than six hours, beginning around 5:30am on Easter Sunday. They use around 3 tonnes of local greenery, lavender, rosemary, crown daises and other wild-flowers, all of which is gathered in the week preceding Easter. It cannot have been easy this year as the Algarvian weather has been very wet and windy.

I am tempted to help collect and create, or at least get up early to observe the creation. I would love to understand this incredible process and see first hand the techniques. Are the patterns drawn on the road first or do they work from paper designs. I couldn’t see any chalk markings, so suspect the latter. I am also intrigued as to whether the greenery is simply dropped into place or is as much care taken over these sections as the individual bouquets? I know if I am ever brave enough to volunteer to help I will need lots of instruction and supervision!

Eventually it is time for the strollers to move to the side and for the torch bearers to walk on the carpet. I am going to keep my photographs of the parade for another day, I do though have one final shot for you. As you can imagine by the time the parade has finished there isn’t much left of the carpet. It wasn’t soggy like the end of Jo’s Monday walk in Jerez but it is rather sad. Or perhaps it is more appropriate imagery of Easter. It certainly captures the destruction of our planet with the strewn torches, destroyed carpet and the inevitable plastic bottle. Jude, Gilly and other nature lovers may want to look away now.

Carpet destruction
It might not look pretty but it smelt absolutely incredible!

20 comments on “The ‘carpet strollers’ of São Brás de Alportel

  1. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazinhas | restlessjo

  2. The flowers look beautiful at the start. What a shame they don’t last longer. I suppose all the visitors get a lot of pleasure from seeing the display.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m torn between loving the amazing displays and thinking its such a waste, but the flowers will die anyway. They bring a lot of pleasure before they do. You’ll have to join in one year just to find out how it’s done, and share with us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also very torn . . . . but then when I go out on the hills and see that they are still covered in flowers I feel a little bit better. And the joy the event gives to everyone 🙂
      And yes I must . . . my cunning plan is to convince a friend who speaks Portuguese and lives locally that she wants to help too, that way at least I will understand a little bit more!


  4. What a fabulous tradition. I was dismayed by the last squashed photo but yes the smell would have been wonderful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a lot of work destroyed in moments. I’d much prefer to let those gorgeous flowers live their lives as intended, but must admit to liking the fragile beauty of those carpets.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. janesmudgeegarden

    How charming I t all is. I feel sorry that it can only be admired for a very short time after all that hard work but your photos capture it beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jane, and I agree would be lovely if it lasted a little bit longer. Still the hills are still covered in flowers, and so throughout April it is possible to go out and enjoy them all over again in their natural setting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fascinating Easter tradition, Becky, thank you for sharing it with your wonderful words and pictures. It does seem a shame to walk on the beautifully crafted floral carpets but I expect that deepens the floral aroma and adds to the sensory pleasure! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jacqueline for such lovely feedback, and yes the floral aroma certainly does. Quite an amazing smell by the end.


  8. What an astonishing form of celebration, Becky. Brilliantly covered in your photo-essay.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is a bit of a sad sight, isn’t it, but I know from experience that it smells heavenly. 🙂 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing. I had my nose right up against the screen so I could get full benefit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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