Culture Family Travel

Easter Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

April 21, 2017

Spending Easter break in Portugal left a technicolour imprint on our memories. Sun seeking was the primary purpose of our visit, but it was the Festival of Flower Torches at São Bras de Alportel and it’s vibrant injection of Portuguese colour that rejuvenated the soul.

Every year on Easter Sunday this small traditional village of São Bras de Alportel in Portugal transforms itself into a celebration of colour, scent and Hallelujahs ! The wonderful Festa das Tochas Floridas takes place on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The festival was historically a tradition for many Portuguese villages but now Sao Bras de Alportel is the last to keep the tradition – though this was disputed by a local in the cafe who claimed it has always been unique to her town.

The trick is to get there early and walk through the town center to see the streets adorned with carefully crafted patterns of fresh flowers. The Resurrection Procession then begins late morning with the village men carrying beautiful elaborate torches of flowers. Throughout the procession, the men sing a chorus of “Ressuscitou como disse! Aleluia! Aleluia! Aleluia!”, which means “Risen, as he said. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

This morning the sun shone bright and hot, the town’s men made their way down the streets trampling over the carpet of flowers whilst dressed in their Sunday best. Each group that passed seemed to want to impress upon the crowd that their Hallelujah chorus was louder and more committed than that of the previous group.

Consequently you are left with ‘Hallelujah’ still sounding in your ears some time after leaving the town, with the little ones myself and my husband still letting out the occasional ‘Hallelujah’ way into the evening. In fact it’s still in my head now along with the strong scent of thousands of freshly trampled on flowers baking in the hot Portuguese sun of Sao Bras de Alportel. Hallelujah…

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

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Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Festival of Flower Torches, São Bras de Alportel, Portugal

Lulu in Carmen shorts and Kaia jacket and T shirt, Hattie in Lexi dress and Lili garland by Velveteen

Katie in favourite pleated Holly double layer gold dress by Laura Egloff 

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