São Brás celebrates Easter with century-old flower torch festival

São Brás de Alportel is the place to be this weekend if you’re looking to enjoy a traditional Algarve Easter event as the town will host its hugely popular Festa das Tochas Floridas (Flower Torch Festival) on April 21, Easter Sunday.

The event is a vibrant celebration of the resurrection of Jesus of Christ. Streets are adorned with ‘carpets’ of flowers while a procession sees local citizens carrying torches of flowers while chanting religious hymns.

The festival is inspired by a once popular Easter celebration that took place throughout the Algarve. But while the tradition was lost in other towns, São Brás continues to host the impressive procession year after year.

As the local council explains, “Festa das Tochas Floridas brings together the whole community and attracts thousands of national and international visitors who want to celebrate Easter in a unique way”.

The preparations for the event begin the night before, to ensure floral arrangements are kept fresh and vibrant, with hundreds of volunteers working on the decorations before the streets officially open the next morning at 9.30am.

At 10am, the Largo de São Sebastião square will host a gastronomic event which will feature the “flavours of Easter” while a handicraft fair will be held at the local churchyard.

The Eucharist also begins at the same time, followed by the highly anticipated procession.

Festivities continue later that day with a ‘cultural afternoon’ outside the local church, with visitors able to browse through the stalls selling handicraft, regional sweets and nibbles, followed by a prize-giving ceremony for the best flower decorations and performances by local folk musical groups.

More information about the event can be found in English on the local council’s website – https://www.cm-sbras.pt/pt/menu/946/flower-torch-festival.aspx