Floral memories

This time last year it was Easter and so we were in São Brás de Alportel enjoying the splendour of Festa das Tochas Floridas. For some reason I didn’t write a post about it last year, possibly because we were only a couple of days away from leaving for the summer or maybe because this is an event I have written about multiple times.

However it is such an extraordinary event I thought I would treat you to my photographs from last year. Let’s begin with just a few photos of the two kilometres of carpet.

The festival couldn’t take place this year because of COVID-19. Such a loss for the local community, although the upside of course of it not taking place is that the three tonnes of local greenery, lavender, rosemary, crown daises and other wild-flowers have not been collected. Part of me is happy about this, and I am sure the local fauna is delighted!

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that the festival doesn’t just consist of a floral carpet. There are also torches of flowers carried in a lengthy procession, and they are accompanied by music and chanting. Prior to the 20th century the singing and chanting was led by the clergy and choirs, but as their numbers have dwindled it became common practice for the chanting to be led by confrarias from the local community instead.

The ‘confrarias’ are groups, some are social clubs others agricultural co-operatives. The flower torches are different for each group. Once the procession starts, occasionally on time, one person in each confrarias will at some point cry ‘Ressuscitou como disse!’ and their group will turn to face each other and respond with ‘Aleluia, Aleluia, Aleluia’.

It is a very joyful and exuberant parade, but you may have spotted from the video there is also lots of standing around! Mainly because every time a confrarias stops then the group behind has to wait until they have finished. There are also just random moments of long stops with no chanting.

The highlight of the festival has to be the torches. In the 18th and 19th century they were actual torches, but since its revival in the 20th century flowers have been used. Some of the torches are more than 5ft in height, whilst others are simple bouquets. All though are extraordinary works of art. If you have time do click on the gallery below to see in more detail a few of the ones we saw last year.

Author: BeckyB

It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends & the cat!

30 thoughts

  1. In some respects it’s a good thing you didn’t get here this year, isn’t it? There’s a lot you didn’t miss 🙂 🙂 As I remember Robert wasn’t well and you had to cut this visit short. Sometimes it feels like the weather is in mourning, Becky. It’s a bit of a conundrum at present. 2 damp and blustery days , then 2 glorious ones. Sending hugs, darlin! Normal still feels a long way away. 🙂

  2. These festivals are big in Spain too. We visited the one in Sitges a few years ago. No chance of that happening this year. Social Distancing just couldn’t happen.

    1. I am beginning to wonder when any festival is going to happen, the more I read the news the more I get the impression life is going to be different for years 🙁

        1. and on people like my mum who are alone. Can’t imagine how she is coping without the ability to touch another person. I wish i could send her the cat so she’d at least have an animal to hug.

        2. Oh yes, that is so tough. To be both isolated , and to a large extent imprisoned too must be a particular kind of hell. I hope you’ll be allowed to visit her soon x

        3. Thanks Margaret. i really hope so xx

          PS Apologies for the delay in replying you were hiding amongst the amoxicillin in spam again!

    1. They start at 5am on the carpet, and three weeks before with collecting the flora. Goodness knows though how long it takes to create some of the torches. It is an extraordinary festival

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