are events on throughout the week, it is the final day of the
Tabuleiros which attracts
the most amount of visitors to see the procession, which winds it way
through the narrow, cobbled streets of the historic centre, across the
old and new bridges which straddle the
Rio Nabão, into the new town and
of the trays consists of four hundred or so young women wearing white
with red silk sashes, each escorted by a young man wearing a white shirt, red tie and black trousers.
balances a tray, which has 30 loaves threaded on vertical canes, intertwined with leaves and colourful paper flowers and crowned with a white dove – the symbol of the Holy Spirit
on her head. The
resulting headdress weighs in the region of 15kg.
young women are are invited to represent each village and district of
Tomar by their respective village or district. To be invited is a great
honour and the young women take the role very seriously, practising the
route with a replica tray for months prior to the event.
Although their male consorts are there to help, handing over the tray is
considered to be dishonourable. However it takes a huge amount of
strength and stamina to complete the procession with the weighty tray
atop their heads as the temperature on the day can be in excess of 30
degrees. The procession, which also sees the
Minister attend, can take up to four hours to complete.
In the intervening four years headdresses are one display in various locations, including cafes and the Tourist information office, throughout
In the lead up to the
you can, on some evenings catch glimpses of girls practising the route,
accompanied by proud parents and friends on hand to steady the weighty
'tray' atop her head.
The next festival is expected to be held in 2014 though details and
dates have not as yet been released. If you would like to attend the
next Festa dos Tabuleiros you can keep checking in gekkoportugal.com for
details or alternatively check out the organisers website
www.tabuleiros.org, though this
is at present only in Portuguese.