Tomar’s Festival of the Trays is now Intangible Cultural Heritage

May 10, 2023 | News

Tomar’s Festival of the Trays (Festa dos Tabuleiros) has been entered in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, according to an announcement published in the Diário da República on 8 May, which accepted the application submitted by Tomar City Council and the IHC in July 2019.

The process began in 2018, with a collaboration protocol between the IHC and the Tomar municipality, constituting a research team composed of Paula GodinhoMaria Alice Samara and André Camponês, whose mission was to study the history, ethnography, and heritage of the Festival, with the main objective of registering the festivity in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. André Camponês continued his work in Tomar, culminating in the achievement of the outlined objective.

Having a pagan origin associated with the harvest season, the Festival of the Trays, like many others, later acquired a religious character, with the intervention of Saint-Queen Elisabeth. According to André Camponês, speaking to Lusa, the most ancient date that documents the existence of the Festival, then designated as Feast in Honour of the Divine Holy Ghost, is from 1844, information obtained in the book of Minutes and Accounting of the Academia Philarmónica Tomarense (now extinct), and the most ancient testimony of the Holy Ghost Feast in Tomar is the Crown of Asseiceira of 1544.

In the study carried out by the IHC, information, testimonies, and documents about the Feast were collected, and safeguard proposals were prepared, such as “the video and photographic records of endangered professions, like the tinsmith or basket maker, so that they can be replicated in the future, or the creation of an Interpretative Centre of the Festival”, says André Camponês.

This announcement coincides with the Festival of the Trays year, which will take place from the 1 to the 10 July, with the typical Lads Parade (2 July), ornamented streets (from the 5th), the Butler’s Parade (7 July), Procession of the Holy Ghost Crowns and Pendants and the Great Parade of Trays (9 July).

The IHC is pleased with the success of yet another partnership with a local authority which contributed not only to a better historical knowledge of an important national tradition but also to its recognition by the Directorate-General of Cultural Heritage – one of our aims of contributing to public policies associated with heritage, also very relevant in the scope of IN2PAST.


Picture: Great Parade of Trays in July 2019. (Credit: Maria Alice Samara)


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