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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Armed for Easter -  São Brás

On the Feast of the Resurrection, one town in southern Portugal remembers an insurrection, with flowers held high.


Men beat their “torches” together on Easter Sunday

São Brás, Portugal

Photo: Katrina Berry

Christians, told to turn the other cheek, have been a notoriously combative people through the ages. And in São Brás, Portugal, that martial spirit even creeps upon Easter.

The town’s Festa das Tochas remembers when locals citizens repulsed invading sailors, Sir Francis Drake and the like, in the 16th century, holding the intruders off with only clubs and branches.

In the Easter rite, the streets are decorated with floral carpets and local men and boys carry “tochas” – torches, illuminated with flowers.

Photographer Katrina Berry of London kindly wrote us this spring:

“My family and I have been regular visitors to São Brás for the past 20 years, but it was only last year that we discovered the quite astonishing ‘Festa das Tochas Floridas.’ Words can’t describe how breathtaking it is to wake up on Easter Sunday morning and see the floral wonders the local womenfolk have created in the streets since the early hours of the morning.”

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Posted by Julie on 04/26 at 01:15 PM
Culture & SocietyReligious RitualsTravelPermalink