welcome to emmas housethought

guest post : festa do divino espírito santo

Most everybody has heard of the Festa dos Tabuleiros, which takes place in Tomar roughly every 4 years in July. Actually, there is no set date: a month or two ago the mayor called the populace and asked them if they wanted the festa next year (YEAH!!! roared the crowd) and if anybody was willing to be the mordomo1 (VICTAL!!! Shouted the crowd on behalf of the very popular mordomo of the last festa). So, after the three celebratory firecrackers were thrown in the Praça, it was settled. But there were times when it was every 2 years and some press for a Festa dos Tabuleiros every year. As a matter of fact, this big event in Tomar dates from the 50’s: before that, every parish made its own separate procession in honour of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, where young girls dressed in white carried baskets of bread interwoven with flowers to be blessed in church.

festa-carregueiros

Nowadays, only one parish keeps the tradition every year, Carregueiros. Here, the flowers of the fields don’t fear the showers of May, unlike the paper flowers of the big production of Tomar, that made the whole thing move to the rain-proof month of July. Here, the Holy Spirit has not been forgotten, just like in the distant-cousin-festas of the Azores. Here, no tourists, virtually no outsiders, only the local youth donning the traditional clothes capped by the most modern haircuts and fancy sunglasses.

portrait-group-girlsguys-on-fence

First the Band, followed by the Brotherhood carrying the Holy Spirit’s crown and flags and then the couples with their offerings to the Holy Spirit (or perhaps it´s really Ceres) pass under the windows of Carregueiros’ Main Street and the residents lean out over their best bedspreads to throw petals at the crowd.

men-in-procession

The procession takes place between the two churches of the village, and small children carry their little baskets with flowers with great gravity and even greater courage.

portrait-boy-with-trumpetportrait-girl-with-basket

The walk is long and the lazy are already waiting at the second church watching the long, colourful snake approach through the fields, up and down, and finally up a steep flight of stairs.

carregueiros-procession-1

For thirsty onlookers, the “water” man has a mixture of beer and soda (a little beer and a lot of soda, to maintain the decorum of the festivities), and for the hungry there are bolos da cabeça to help them wait for lunch.

holy-spirit-procession

After mass everybody walks back to the centre of the village and the first church, where the baskets are blessed. The bread is then distributed among the people, who keep it throughout the year in the hope that they will be blessed with abundance.

girl-boy-in-crowd

The great Festa dos Tabuleiros of Tomar, that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, brings together the Tomarense who for a year work tirelessly to transform their city. But the connection with the mystical origins of this celebration is all but lost. Here in Carregueiros, and even more in the Azores and Brazil, the cult of the Holy Spirit still echoes the utopia of a Third Age, which would bring universal and egalitarian love and total freedom which comes from the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

sky

 

 

1 the elected administrator and organiser of the event.

 

5 Comments

  1. Rosa Maria June 21, 2010 4:28 am Reply

    Olá Emma
    Lindo este seu post.
    Só lhe acrescento um pequeno pormenor: há que vir a Tomar na semana da Festa e vivenciar como “a utopia de um amor universal e igualitário e de liberdade total que vem da inspiração directa do Espírito Santo (só pode…) não se perdeu”. As pessoas de Tomar adormecem e acordam a sorrir, para a vida e para todos os que os rodeiam.
    Now in english:
    congratulations to your blog, and to your guest.
    Rosa Maria

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Denise Papoin June 21, 2010 8:07 am Reply

    So far we have had the Festa dos Tabuleiros in Aldeia do Mato every year, be that a small procession but a procession with all the fruit to boot. Luckily today it was not too hot for it, but last year it was sweltering and was a very uncomfortable walk from the Igreja to the Panorama and back.

    [Reply to comment]

  3. georgiana June 24, 2010 8:49 pm Reply

    Hey Emma, beautiful blog!!I will take time to read more of it, I just read several posts now (I came to it via,via,via….:))
    I am a Romanian married with a Belgian guy, living in Belgium and having a wonderful son.I saw you came very close to Romania (Bulgaria, Hungary) in your trips, but never visited my country…well,maybe next time!:) We spent our honeymoon in Portugal (it was my dream honeymoon)and I also fell in love with this country.The pictures from the begining of my blog (I started after we came from Portugal)talk a bit about my fascination with this beautiful country! We plan to go back, maybe next year, this year we just came back from Spain.See you again on your blog, or on mine (even though I didn’t post much as we recently just bought another house, and we are moving in August-so we are kind of busy packing,renovating…you know!)!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: June 30th, 2010 at 1:10 am

    oh what a sweet story! Thanks georgi x

    [Reply to comment]

    http://georgi-pascal-luca.blogspot.com

  4. JOFRE RAPOSO March 14, 2011 2:10 am Reply

    SAUDACOES A IRMANDADE DO ESPIRITO SANTO. EU FIQUEI SATISFEITO EM SABER DA MANEIRA QUE FAZIAM EM TOMAR POIS NOS PORTUGUESES ORIUNDOS DOS ACORES HONRAMOS TAMBEM A RAINHA SANTA ISABEL COM FESTAS DO DIVINO ESPIRITO SANTO. A NOSSA IRMANDADE E EM PACL/ SOMERVILLE MASSACHUSETT. A NOSSA FESTA E FEITA NA SEGUNDA SEMANA DE JULHO. NAO COLHECO TOMAR MAS, SIM ESTRMOZ RCAV3/BATCAV682. LISBOA, FATIMA, PONTE DE LIMA E OUTROS SITIOS. BOM ESTOU UM POICO ESQUECIDO TIVE UMA TROMBOSE! VOU MANDAR UMA FOTO DA NOSSA FESTAS. PERDAO E DES VOS ABENCOE. JOFRE

    [Reply to comment]

Leave a Reply

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin