The traditional Festivities of the People of Campo Maior, in the district of Portalegre, are now included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which left satisfied the regional authorities and leaders of the tourism sector.
The Directorate General of Cultural Heritage (DGPC) justified the favourable decision by citing one of the grounds was the importance of this manifestation of intangible cultural heritage, as a “reflection of the identity” of the community in which the tradition originated and is practised.
“The effective production and reproduction that characterize this manifestation of cultural heritage today, translated into practices transmitted intergenerationally within the community of Campo Maior, with a privileged appeal to morality,” read the statement.
Secular tradition and last held in 2015, the celebrations are known for presenting dozens of streets “decked out” with paper flowers.
The initiative, promoted by the Association of People’s Parties of Campo Maior, involves the decoration of the streets, especially the historic centre, with thousands of paper flowers made by the population.
The festivities are only held when the population of the Alentejo village wants and is recognized internationally for its “originality and popular character“, with the inhabitants preparing for months the ornamentation of the streets.
The president of the Regional Tourism Entity (ERT) of Alentejo and Ribatejo, António Ceia da Silva, was “very satisfied” that this step was taken by the DGPC.
According to Ceia da Silva, from now on, it is possible to apply for festivals to the classification of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2019 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“We can get another ‘seal’, which is highly recognized for a unique, unique party that has very interesting characteristics from the popular point of view and which we hope will be a World Heritage Site,” he said.
Ceia da Silva also recalled that the Tourism of Alentejo and Ribatejo, which proposed to the DGPC the registration of the People’s Festivities in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, has been working “for many years” in the application to be presented to UNESCO.
“We know that these are lengthy processes, but it seems that from the contacts we maintain that there are strong chances that the parties will be classified next year,” he added.
The mayor of Campo Maior, Ricardo Pinheiro, also expressed “very happy” with the inscription of the parties in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
“We have taken another step towards qualifying for UNESCO, after four years of work. The valorization of this art is absolutely fantastic and leaves us with a huge responsibility,” he said.
The preparation of the Festivities of the People of Campo Maior is done street to street, and the work developed in each of them is kept secret, even for friends and relatives of the residents, and is only made known on the night of the enramação (when they are decorated The streets).
In 2015, close to 7,500 volunteers prepared the last edition of the People’s Festivities, in which 99 streets took place, to an extent of about 10 kilometres.