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Easter in Algarve

If you are spending the Easter Season in the Algarve here are some facts and traditions you might want to know. 

On Easter Sunday, these are some of the things on the menu: lamb, beans flavoured with mint, and homemade sausages, followed by folar (traditional Easter bread) and almonds.  Philharmonic music bands accompany the religious processions, and balconies and many windows are decorated with colourful quilts.

The Good Friday procession, commemorating the burial of Jesus, takes place at night.  On Easter Sunday, there is the Procession to the Risen Christ.  The most important Easter processions are the Mãe Soberana (Sovereign Mother) celebration in Loulé and the Festa das Tochas Floridas, (Flower Torch Festival) in São Brás de Alportel.

In Loulé, the Easter Sunday celebrations start with Festa Pequena (Small Feast) in which the statue of the Pieta on its litter is brought down from the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Pieta, to the Church of St Francis, where it stays for two weeks.  The Festa Grande (Big Feast) culminates with the procession of the Pieta back up the steep slope to the Hermitage with the statue borne on the shoulders of men running up the slope.

In São Brás de Alportel, on Easter Sunday, men holding torches decorated with branches of lavender, rosemary, and country flowers form lines in a procession marking the Resurrection of Christ in a celebration linking the religious and the secular.