So much has been written about the Knights Templar, but the last chapter in their history was written in Portugal’s city of Tomar. It’s a tale of adventure, cunning, and exploration. And the pageantry of the lost order lives on today at the “Festa dos Tabuleiros.” Tomar is just 90 minutes from Lisbon.
The next “Festa dos Tabuleiros” has been scheduled to run from July 4 to 13th, 2015. “Festa dos Tabuleiros,” or Festival of Trays, happens every four years or so and is unique in the world and it is part of the religious traditions to celebrate the Holy Spirit. The highlight is a massive parade with young women carrying a “tabuleiro” on their heads. The tabuleiro must be the height of the woman and is made of 300 pieces of bread with rows decorated with paper flowers. At the top, there’s a crown decorated with a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit or the Cross of Christ.
Along the 2-mile parade rout, petals from flowers are thrown to the pairs, quilts decorate windows and everyone is dressed for the occasion, making it a truly unique celebration.
The festival attracts visitors from all over to the former home of the Knights Templar in Tomar. During the last festival in 2011, women from all the 16 counties around carried 500 trays.
The 2015 festival has a poster designed by local artist Jose Inacio da Costa Rosa. The design is a watercolor that shows the parade with two women holding the tabuleiro and one of the main calling cards of the city – the ornamented Manueline Window from the Convent of Christ. The main parade will take place on Sunday, June 12th.
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