The song says that “Numa manhã de Setembro a vila acorda mais bela”, but for reasons that do not sympathize with tradition, the latest editions of the Festas do Povo, brought the Spring back to Campo Maior at the end of August.
Painting the houses, the places of the sticks are marked, whose role is to serve as a skeleton for the entire structure, and the last sheets of paper are formed from where the flowers that attract the crowds will be born. The Festas do Povo belong to the People, because it is the People who give them the greatest contribution. They sacrifice the well-deserved hours of rest to give shape to the flowers and other arrangements without which Campo Maior could not transform, overnight, into the most beautiful of gardens.
It all starts in January (or earlier), the “cabeça de rua” (person in charge of organizing the work) is chosen, the work is drafted, the color of the paper is chosen and the work is started. After dinner, they gather at the house of one of the neighbors. Adults and kids fold, cut and glue paper and, between the conversations and the comments to the novel, the magic begins. A rose is born, a tulip blooms, an olive grows. All unique pieces. Made almost in series, the same at first sight, but unique, each bearing the stamp of those who made them, with their hands and their hearts.
There is a lot of excitement, tiredness too and sometimes the fear of not having everything ready for the night of the “enrramação”. But it´s like that, people have been used to suffering from nervousness and sleepless nights that the Festas do Povo bring with them for a long time, however they also bring the joy of seeing the charm on the faces of outsiders, marveling at such a manifestation of Popular art. Feeling that your work is recognized and praised is the only reward for those who left a little bit of themselves in each flower they formed. A proud people comes to the fore and, why not, vain, a vanity allowed by those who appreciate the world of dreams they have entered and, it must be said, more than deserved.
From the smallest of details to the most elaborate entrance to each street, all this transports us to a world made of paper and the dreams of a people. For the originality, the beauty, the poetry, the art, for all this and for much more it is worth watching the show that these Festivals are, unique in the world, but certainly Portuguese.