European vacations are the dream of many around the world. With all the amazing history and culture, the country of Portugal often goes unnoticed. This is a serious mistake. Although the comparisons are difficult, Portugal is among the most beautiful of the countries in the European Union. Incredibly lush and vibrant, this nation’s heart is epitomized in the yearly Madeira Island Flower Festival (known there as the Festa da Flor). Every April, just after Easter the streets of Funchal, Portugal are covered with thousands upon thousands of the most glorious blooms known to mankind. The essence of spring is everywhere in this celebration that welcomes the end of winter and exalts the birth of the new years growth.
Local folklore has it that it only rains in Madeira to permit the flowers to grow more brilliantly for the festival. You will truly believe this as you enter Funchal. The Madeira Island Flowers Festival begins each year when thousands of little kids assemble at the Town Hall Square (Praça do Município) and build the Muro de Esperança (Wall of Hope) constructed of so many flowers the scale is just unimaginable. Funchal is bathed in the ethereal scents and colors of the collected cornucopia of flora. But this is only the beginning. After the Wall of Hope, the celebration really begins with massive carpets of flowers installed throughout the city. And lest the children have all the fun, Funchal has hysterical variety shows, world class flower exhibits, classical and romantic music concerts, outdoor plays, and captivating performances of Portuguese legends.
The themed parades that follow the Wall of Hope each year are among the highlights for visitors and locals. As is typical of “Carnival” type parties, there are awards for best representation of each year’s topic. There is so much dancing, singing, music, and merriment, it is impossible to not become one with the throngs. The beauty and majesty of the Madeira Island Flower Festival is simply beyond belief. Each sight, smell, touch, feel and taste tops the next. Magical floats and intoxicating laughter are all exclaimed by the final release of a gorgeous flock of doves. One can genuinely imagine peace on earth as each child shows up to the festival with their single flower to create a spice of art and joy to thrill anyone who witnesses it. An interesting destination like no other, the Madeira Island Flower Festival in Funchal, Portugal is an experience you will remember for a lifetime.
|Click image for full size|