Tabuleiros Festival

Tabuleiros Festival (Festa dos Tabuleiros)

Four days in mid-July every third year
The town of Tomar in Portugal has been celebrating the Tabuleiros ("headdresses") Festival for 600 years as a way of expressing gratitude for the harvest and charity for the poor. The highlight of the festival is the procession through town of hundreds of girls in traditional headdresses selected from Tomar and the surrounding communities.
The foundation of the headdress, which weighs about 33 pounds and must be at least as tall as the girl who carries it, is a round basket covered with a linen cloth. An elaborate framework of bamboo sticks and wires holds up 30 small loaves of bread arranged in five rows. Flowers made of colored paper disguise the wires and the entire structure is topped with a white dove or Maltese cross. The priest blesses the bread, and the girls keep their tabuleiros for the entire year to ward off sickness. This is also a time for making donations to the poor and the afflicted.
CONTACTS:
Portuguese National Tourist Office
590 Fifth Ave., 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10036
800-767-8842 or 212-354-4403; fax: 212-764-6137
www.visitportugal.com
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Jul 8
FestWestEur-1958, p. 171
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 313