Celebrating life at Easter!

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Easter than to attend the enormous street party that is Festas das Tochas Floridas, in São Brás de Alportel.  At around 5 in the morning the process begins of laying more than 3 tons of petals and flowers in a winding carpet through the centre of town.  More than a kilometre in length, by 9.30am the streets are ready to be opened to an excited public.  Yet another year in which this small town in the Eastern Algarve opens its arms to the world, to join in a celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

Nobody is left out!  From tots to teenagers, young adults to us older generation, all are welcome to come and participate.  I join the earlybirds in the streets, marveling at the patience and imagination, the pure creativity that has gone into making this a joyful day.

The Easter Day service takes place at 10.00 in Igreja Matriz in Largo São Sebastião, and while this is happening the streets begin to fill.  Faithful and simply curious, no-one is turned away.  I wander, camera in hand, along with many others.  Most, but not all, are respectful of the flowers and the occasion.  Needing 10 minutes peace before the procession begins, I retire to a back street for coffee.  There I observe a mini procession, of the young men from all over town, bringing their flower torches to assemble at the church.  Full of smiles, they are happy to pose.

Patterned bedspreads flutter from open windows as the excitement builds.  In front of the church a little jostling for position begins, and television interviews are held.  This is São Brás’ big day!  A last few stragglers with flower torches make their way through the crowd, the congregation leave the church and try to find a vantage point, and suddenly it all comes together and the procession begins.

Led by the priest and clergy, they wend their way slowly into the streets.  Everyone cranes to get a good view, but only the hard of hearing could miss the choruses of ‘Hallelujah’.  Every few yards they pause, the flower torches are brandished high in the air, and accompanied by a rousing chant.

I watch, spellbound, as it moves past me, hardly aware of what I might have captured on camera.  But there are ample opportunities for photographs on this day.  It takes around 2 hours for the entire circuit of the old town to take place, and I join and rejoin the procession at different intervals throughout the streets.

There are so many wonderful moments!  The small child hoisted on Dad’s shoulders, just a little tired and bored for the ‘selfie’; fathers, sons and friends embracing and beaming at their shared memory; and that young man in the band with the shy smile, who reminds me so much of a Polish nephew.  I love it all!  And it’s been a privilege to relive it with you.

A nicer person you will not meet in the blogging world than Ann-Christine, or Leya, as her blog is known.  Why that name, I often wonder?  The only one I know of is a princess in the Star Wars movies.  Not only does she find time to co-host the Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge, but she also goes out of her way to congratulate me on being featured in Discover.  I might not otherwise have realised, despite the hike in my stats, so thanks, hon, and many thanks to WordPress too.

I hope you enjoyed sharing Creativity with me.

96 comments

  1. Easter is my favorite holiday. I love the theme of resurrection mingled with springtime. What a beautiful atmosphere to be a part of there. Hope you are doing great, Jo.

  2. Wow 😍🌼🌸❤️🌸🌼. The floral arrangements are spectacular. Lovely to see such a peaceful Easter Celebration full of color and smiles. Your coverage of the celebration is perfection. Thank you for giving me a ring-side seat. And congrats on your well deserved ‘Discover’ feature.

  3. Looks like such wonderful celebration! Once again, I loved the colour bursts and smiling faces. The sunshine was the best part for me. We’re having gloomy days here. It’s getting chilly with the rain. 😦

    1. The weather here has been distinctly ‘moody’ in the past 2 weeks, but as they were desperate for rain I’ve not really minded, and when the sun does come out it’s simply glorious. As it was on Easter Sunday (and probably from today on 🙂 )

  4. Amazing, three tons of flowers, I wonder where they come from. Creating all this beauty must be one of the most unusual reasons to get up early and what an enormous task. Your first Easter there and yet I think I’ve seen a similar flowers on the path post before?

    1. We weren’t often in the Algarve for Easter, Gilly, but we saw this procession about 10 years ago and were absolutely amazed by it. So good to see it again, and on a fabulous day between various spells of ‘weather’ 🙂 🙂 The biggest event around here is at Loulé and I wanted to do that one too (at 5pm) but Mick wasn’t keen and there was a concert in Tavira that teatime. It’s where Our Lady is carried down from the Sanctuary to a church below, Festa Pequena, but we should get to see Festa Grande on 5th May, when she’s carried back up again. 🙂 All go! Our Newcastle friends arrive the following day. Hugs, darlin!

  5. I was totally in awe of the carpet of flowers and petals … until I got to the flower torches!! I can just imagine the sight! What a wonderful way to celebrate spring 🙂

    Congrats on being featured on Discover!

    1. Many thanks, Joanne! A complete surprise 🙂 🙂 This is probably the best procession I’ve ever seen in my life (and that’s a long time! 🙂 ). The atmosphere was so joyful! And where else would you get to see young men proud to carry bunches of flowers through the streets?

  6. Oh, my goodness! This is wonderful. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate Easter. Thanks for showing us.

    1. It’s about 10 years since we last saw this, Nicki, as we were usually in the UK at Easter. It was a ‘must do’ for us, and it didn’t disappoint. What a fabulous day 🙂 🙂

  7. I really like the way you have presented these photos. The massed grids really give a sense of the colour and life of the festival. It looks like a fabulous thing to be part of.

  8. It indeed looks like a feast. We celebrate Easter, too, in my side of the world, but we don’t have such intricate flower decorations. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I am torn between liking the wonderful floral displays and the thought of all those dead flowers shortly afterwards. The Catholic countries really do go to town celebrating the feast days and holy days! As for being Discovered, I found it a somewhat of a poisonous chalice as I got loads of weirdos following me that I could do without!

      1. A couple who campervan in France in summer. Was a really nice night. Fragile this morning but made it to t’ai chi. Folk festival starts today so still more excitement. Collapsed on the roof for now. You? 😎🌺🌼🌻🌸🍀💕

      2. Still got the sciatica pain and some days are worse than others, even though I try to keep moving. Just done a bit of a tidy up in the garden. I want to slow time down as these lovely spring months are going far too quickly!

  10. It’s wonderful to see such a large community of people join together in any celebration, but Easter is somehow particularly meaningful with both religious symbolism and ritual, as well as a reverence for spring and renewal. I love the flowers! My goodness, but a lot of effort went into making this so visually captivating. I can imagine that this was quite a magical experience for everyone. 🙂

    1. The atmosphere on the streets was wonderful, Debbie 🙂 🙂 Little did I know that in other parts of the world evil was being done in the name of religion. It’s hard to understand, isn’t it?

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