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Portuguese Traditional Feasts SI

Portuguese Traditional Feasts

Traditional feasts, shaped through the parameters of rural societies which, with the rural exodus of the 60`s seemed to be vanishing, acquired, towards the end of the 20th century, other expressions. The 80´s brought along the revitalization of the feasts, which present nowadays other contours. People and places developed an increased awareness of the value of local traditions, of the ethnographic heritage, and of the need to defend authenticity.  In the face of industrialization, modernization and raising urbanization, societies created and re-create celebrations and leisure moments that help in the remaking of their own identities. We have nowadays a multiplicity of new festive forms both  in the urban as in the rural spaces. The Festa dos Tabuleiros, in Tomar, and the Festa da Flor in Madeira, examples of the Springtime festive cycle, the São João in Oporto, from the Summer festive cycle, and the Loulé Carnival, which marks the end of the Winter festive cycle, are all part of a long festive tradition, to which more modern characteristics were added, transforming them into touristic and identity symbols in the villages and regions where they take place. 
The Festa dos Tabuleiros, in Tomar, is a form of cult to the Divine Holy Ghost which takes place every four years. It initiates on Easter Sunday with the Festa das Coroas. The remaining feasts, which comprise the Cortejo dos Rapazes (also known as the Chegada dos Bois do Espírito Santo), the Cortejo do Mordomo, the official opening of the decorated streets, the Cortejos Parciais, the popular games, the Cortejo dos Tabuleiros and the Bodo (or Pêza) take place up during the following months, up to July. The trays, offers to the Divine, composed of thirty breads and headed with a crown holding the Holy Ghost dove or the Cross of Christ, are carried by the women. In the main procession all the 16 parishes of the council are represented.
The Festa da Flor, in Madeira, celebrated in April, is an example of a recently created feast, reinforcing playful aspects connected with tourism, but also recuperating ancient themes connected to the rejuvenating of nature in Springtime. It is also a case that explores the beauty and the plastic value of the ephemeral art work based on flowers and vegetal elements, present in the floats that make up the parade, in the dancers, disguised with flowers, in the carpets of flowers in the streets, and the attribution of prizes to the best decorated window shops. 
The São João in Oporto is part of the June festive cycle, in which elements coming from a long European tradition join together with new components. In the more traditional neighbourhoods one finds arraiais (popular street feasts) and São João waterfalls, with bonfires and vases full of aromatic plants, such as basil, lemon verbena, and lemon. Considered to be a magical time, during the Saõ João night plants, fire and waters acquire magical properties, related to fertility, health and happiness. The leeks, clearly sexual symbols, that were used to hit people´s heads, are nowadays substituted by plastic hammers; the launching of hot air balloons and the midnight fireworks by the Douro river and the Dom Luís bridge are two important moments of this feast.
The Loulé Carnival is an ex-libris of this city, famous for its float parade, animation groups, samba schools and famous guests. The floats are the stage for representations of political, social and sport satires, in which recent events from the national public life are reviewed. The float parade, as well as the flower battle, are two of the main highlights of this feast.

Clara Saraiva

Technical Details

Issue Date: 21.02.2011
Process: Offset lithography
Colours: 4-colour offset
Values: EUR 2.37, EUR 3.48
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