I’m taking you back to Palm Sunday in Tavira for this week’s walk, and an evening heady with emotion. It’s some years since I spent Easter in the Algarve, but I vividly remembered some of the treats in store. And I’m not just talking about sweet Folar cake, though that’s good too.
At 5pm people were still strolling nonchalantly towards the Carmo Church. The ceremony was about to begin but urgency is almost unheard of in these parts. Eventually a priest left the church and unhurriedly mounted the low stage to address the crowd. Children fidgeted and skipped about, the smallest ones being hoisted high on shoulders. The scent of lavender hung in the air, a crushed carpet beneath our feet. The band were roughly assembled, waiting for their moment. But first the priest must intone his lengthy benedictions.
Then came the moment. At a signal from their leader, the band struck up, and began a slow-stepping march. With varying degrees of enthusiasm, they were joined by members of the congregation, who spilled slowly from the church, banners aloft. Parents watched anxiously as the cubs shuffled past, shy in the spotlight of so many strangers. Teenagers, with more assurance, grinned at friends in the crowd.
Cameras began to flash as the floats made their way from the church, gravity and the weight of their years etched on the faces of the bearers.
Against a mackerel sky, on this warm evening, the floats began to sway past us, plaintive music their accompaniment. A substantial crowd had gathered, the lucky ones sitting up on balconies or gazing through open windows, the rest of us hushed in awe. The floral decorations were a triumph in themselves. Never have I seen Birds of Paradise and lilies displayed so eloquently.
Slowly the drama unfurled, as float after float was lofted by, stopping to adjust the weight on shoulders and to negotiate the corner. Gently, gently down a perilous incline, the crowd following respectfully.
The numbers swelled as we gathered momentum, though the streets are too narrow for speed. A slow march brought us eventually to the Ponte Romana bridge, decorated with sentinel palms for the occasion. A few of the cubs carried them too.
On through the main square, some taking the occasion very seriously, others happy just to enjoy the spectacle. No judgement. No harsh words.
Such a human affair, you couldn’t help but be moved. The faith and dedication, the hard work to bring it all together, witnessed by so many in a glorious coming together. The military, caught smiling in a moment of relaxation. The band bringing up a valiant rear!
And then the crowds disperse and wander off home, or out to supper, as we did, leaving the day to end, peacefully.
Why this particular procession? I’ve witnessed a few this past week, including the atmospheric night time lament on Good Friday. And the joyful ‘Hosannah’s of the Festa das Tochas Floridas in São Brás de Alportel. But this was my first Easter in my new home town, and my first ever Palm Sunday from my local church. I hope you enjoyed it with me, and that you, too, shared peace and love this Easter.
Another Jo’s Monday walk, and time for a different kind of share. Please do visit and enjoy! And many thanks to all of you.
Debbie always makes me smile, then amazes me with her beautiful photography :
Natalie kindly takes me to Mostar this week – a place I wished I’d visited from Dubrovnik, many years ago :
I’m always being assured how beautiful New Zealand is. Another lovely ‘stroll’ with Suzanne!
Now come and join me and Gilly, and Becky, in Topsham. You won’t be sorry!
Jude leads me down the garden path, again. 🙂 A very beautiful one :
A little bit of initiative in the garden goes a long way :
Two introductions next! First, Suburban Tracks :
Then a beautiful landscape, in Rajasthan :
And someone you know well- thanks Rupali!
Geoff, meanwhile, shares his love of walking and of books, while Dog stays at home :
It’s not every day you see a couple of Penny Farthing’s rolling down the street. Thanks, Irene!
Speaking of time, doesn’t this forest look primeval to you, Sandra?
And stepping back in time, I’ve walked this landscape and loved it. Thanks, Nadine!
Anyone been to Luxembourg? Looks nice, Drake!
Another day with Cathy, a sea of vineyards and reflections on life :
No cake, you’ll have noticed! I over-indulged you on Saturday 🙂 I’m sure there will have been a few chocolates. Wishing you all a great week! I will be back with coverage of the Tochas Floridas. It was sensational this year.