After four years, The Flowers’ Festival also known as People’s Festival ( Festas do Povo / Festas das Flores) is back to the streets of Campo Maior in Alentejo.
Like reading a description paragraph in a book – this is how surreal this festival looks at first sight! Before arriving to the city, we would imagine no more than four-five decorated streets. Oh, the surprise we had when we entered this dreamy world! The whole municipality has its streets dressed in paper flowers, each one with a theme, be it jasmin, tulips, poppy, rose or orchid. There are people coming from all over Portugal and from the neighbouring Spain to grasp some flickering shadows and colourful lights from the suspended paper flowers.
The most astonishing part of this festival is how much effort people put in it – that’s also the reason why you should join this festival. Someone told us the residents had worked on this masterpiece for 4 months (…only??). By looking up to the sky, through the countless paper flowers, all we could read was meticulousness, patience, sleepless hours, family members skipping a meal for the sake of finishing decorating a street.
It is here where the heart of Alentejo beats during these days. With that we already list another good reason why you should go there: TIME, as in today, or tomorrow, or any day until Sunday-August 30, when the festival will come to an end.
Moreover, this is not the kind of event that happens periodically. This, our friends, is the kind of event where the residents of the municipality decide together upon a date and start planning and working around it – the real community work and lesson of democracy books are praising (now we know why it is also called The People’s Festival).
While strolling the streets, we tried to imagine them without the paper flowers. They are so narrow with the houses so close to one another, that it feels as if people lived in one big house, with a long corridor in between.
Leaving our imagination wonder some more: It is a late summer evening when the neighbours of Campo Maior’s big family have gatherd to eat watermelon, drink wine, share long-time-ago stories, while their children and grandchildren play hide-and-seek. As usual as with any conversation about the past, someone proudly brings up the last Flowers’s Festival edition, a week when everything blossoms. One grandmother recalls she didn’t even have the time to cook, but she also didn’t want to. It was endless work and everyone was happy to contribute. Suddenly, a man dares to say:” What if we did it again this year?” A long silence gets in. The silence is nothing but a mutual understanding. All of them nod in synchrony: Yes! The word is spread, the decision is took, the people have chosen. Next thought on our minds: we must come here during the creation, see the ants at work. This is the truly unbelievable piece of art.
It’s just this week, peeps! Don’t let this visually mind blowing event pass by without paying a visit! You’ll be dazzled by the art of paper work at every corner you turn. 🙂
Good to know:
– there’s an entrance fee of 4€
– ask for a map of the decorated streets at the ticket office