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MAIA CELEBRATING. FLOWERING BASKETS
MAIA




SYNOPSIS

The theme chosen to be registered by the Maia municipality was the traditional flower baskets (flower hampers, "canastras florais") street parade held annually in the Nogueira da Maia parish, where today we can still spot a landscape dotted with green, thus revealing its rurality.



DESCRIPTION











[#1] Maia, V. M. d. S. (2011, Janeiro). Santa Maria de Nogueira, Monografia, Volume 1. Nogueira, Maia: Edição de autor. ISBN 978-989-20-2269-7.

[#2] Paulino, F. F. (2013, Dezembro). "Maia em Festa, Canastras Florais". (Maia: Área Metropolitana do Porto 2013), Filme, 18 min.

[#3] Tavares, A. M. M. (1999). Canastras florais maiatas e a religiosidade de um povo (século XIX e XX). Em P. S. Machado e J. A. M. Marques (Eds.), Maia, História Regional e Local, Volume II, pp. 205-225. Câmara Municipal da Maia.

In the early days of these festivities, it was tradition for the population to offer flowers to the Virgin Mary, which were carried in flowering baskets denominated "canastras". These baskets about a meter tall, were made in "Cana-da-India" (indian cane) and were covered with myrtle and fresh flowers picked in the gardens. This tradition was lost over time, and was recovered in the nineties, and is currently one of the high points of these festivities, lending to the pilgrimage a different colored and showy ambiance [#1]. In the Pedras Rubras place, council of Moreira, associated with the Our Lady Mother of Men's chapel (Nossa Senhora Mãe dos Homens), protectress of mankind, these festivities originate in rendering homage to the saint.

They are held in June, consist in a solemn mass, a sermon and a procession that includes floral baskets. The late Master Albino, naive painter, was a key driver of the festivities and represented the flowering baskets in his paintings .

A few days before the festivities the streets are festooned with masts and bows decorated with myrtle and other green plants, with many flowers over those. According to Armando Tavares [#3] it was there that the flower baskets had their splendor, arriving baskets from across the councils of Vila Nova da Telha and Moreira, that were deposited by the door of the Chapel of Our Lady Mother of Men.

Still according to Armando Tavares [#3] it is not possible to identify a precise date for the birth of this tradition for lack of written documents attesting it. Based on oral sources, Tavares concluded that it "must have had its origins in the parishes of Moreira and Vila Nova da Telha, according to [...] Master Albino [...] this tradition involves two centuries of offering canastra shaped flowers to Our Lady Mother of Men as well as to Our Lady of Good Shipment [Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho]".

"The Origin of the Floral basket festivities of Maia, belongs probably to the eighteenth century. This tradition [...] due to the support of the late Master Albino in 1980 reborns from its ashes" [#3], with the introduction of a copy of the flower baskets in the ethnographic procession of Maia. It was Master Albino who passed to a younger generation the knowledge about the techniques and materials used in the construction of the flower baskets.

The flowers were placed in elongated and low baskets, and armed with a vertical structure built in indian cane fixed with wire, this structure was reinforced with more reeds and was then attached to the basket, covered by myrtle, and after that it was adorned with flowers, usually wild flowers. Normally it weighted about 35 kg. Groups of men and women, and sometimes children gathered to plan in advance how it would be made and garnished.

The re-transmission of this almost lost knowledge was organized in 1994, with the administration of training courses to two representatives from each of the then seventeen (17) parishes of the municipality of Maia and the results were shown publicly with the integration of baskets in the procession of 1994 in honour of Our Lady of Good Shipment [#3].

The "materialization of faith manifests itself [...] in offerings, processions, Festivities and Pilgrimages. The Flower Baskets are included in this materialization of the faith [...]" [#3].

In 2013, the construction of the baskets and the techniques and materials used are quite different from those of the 90s of the 20th century. The basic structures are built in polystyrene to which are nailed the decorations with pins . The baskets vary both in the decorative materials used and the build strategies, although the most used materials continue to be of plant origin. Each group defines a topic, kept secret during the entire planning and construction phasis, proceeding to its construction within about three weeks to one month of the start of the festivities. The motivation for the construction of the flower baskets continues today, to be of a religious nature.

According to tradition, each group represents a place from Nogueira da Maia. One of the difficulties of these groups is the transmission of a tradition that, despite surviving for many years, is not sufficiently appealing to the younger generations. To help overcome this difficulty, this tradition was introduced in the three schools representing the different learning cycles of the school grouping of Levante from the village of Nogueira. However, due to safety and health risks, as in the construction of the flower baskets are employed pins and cutting instruments, the youths did not participate in its construction, and only participated in the parade procession.

Given the short period of time taken by the construction, and the temporary unavailability of some of the informants it was not possible to register some of the stakeholder groups during the construction of the floral baskets, however all of them were represented in their public appearances, in the procession in honor of Our Lady of the Hour (Nossa Senhora da Hora). The participating groups, nine in number, were the group "Casal" , the group "Igreja" , the group "Barroso" , the group "Vilar", the group "Pena", the group "Rio" , and the three groups from the school grouping of Levante, the group "Escola EB2,3 Nogueira" , the group "Escola Monte Calvário" and the group "Escola do Barroso" . Additionally, one more informant should be mentioned, Maria da Pureza Barbosa, the daughter of Master Albino.

Currently, in Nogueira da Maia, only two festivities are held, and only one of them was of interest to us because it is the only one that continues to integrate the floral baskets, in the festivity of Our Lady of the Hour, on the third Sunday of May [#1].

This festivity began because of an alleged miracle that occurred with Manoel da Costa and his wife Eusébia, in the place of Rio. Having taken a fall while pregnant, they begged to Our Lady of the Hour to arrange for the birth to go well. Having been answered in their prayer in 1876, the new father ordered the building of an image of Our Lady of the Hour that he then offered to the church in 1877, and in complement to that he committed to holding the festivities in her honor. The image was placed in the Chapel of Mount Calvary, being replaced later by an image made by the master image-maker Luciano Thedim.

Currently, the street parade of the flower baskets takes place between the main church of Nogueira and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Hour on Mount Calvary, where they are exposed for a week, then been integrated in the procession in honor of Our Lady of the Hour.

The documentary "Maia em Festa, Canastras Florais" [#2], explores and registers this reality, using as its main informants the inhabitants, mostly from Nogueira da Maia, belonging to private or institutional groups that directly participated in this activity. These groups, nine, correspond to the nine parishes represented in the 2013 festivities.



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PHOTOS


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Traditional raw materials: indian cane.
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Paintings of Master Albino (naive painter) representing the flowering baskets.
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Group Igreja.
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Modern raw materials are very different from traditional ones.
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Covering with myrtle.
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Nailing the decorations with pins.
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Construction detail.
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Finalization: topping with flowers.
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Construction by group Casal.
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Construction by group Barroso.
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Construction process, the concept.
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Basic structures built in polystyrene.
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Construction process, detail.
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Concept sketch book.
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Detail.
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Preparation of the street parade: gathering and transporting.
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Preparation of the street parade: gathering and transporting.
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Preparation of the street parade: gathering and transporting.
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Preparation of the street parade: starting point.
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Preparation of the street parade: starting place.
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Group Escola do Barroso.
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Group Escola Monte Calvário.
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Group Escola EB2,3 Nogueira.
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Procession in honor of Our Lady of the Hour (Nossa Senhora da Hora), groups Rio, Pena, Barroso and Vilar.


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VIDEOS



Video 1

Normal Version


Duration:

18:20


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Video 2

Short Version


Duration:

6:12


Subtitles:




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BIBLIOGRAPHY

[#1] Maia, V. M. d. S. (2011, Janeiro). Santa Maria de Nogueira, Monografia, Volume 1. Nogueira, Maia: Edição de autor. ISBN 978-989-20-2269-7.

[#2] Paulino, F. F. (2013, Dezembro). "Maia em Festa, Canastras Florais". (Maia: Área Metropolitana do Porto 2013), Filme, 18 min.

[#3] Tavares, A. M. M. (1999). Canastras florais maiatas e a religiosidade de um povo (século XIX e XX). Em P. S. Machado e J. A. M. Marques (Eds.), Maia, História Regional e Local, Volume II, pp. 205-225. Câmara Municipal da Maia.

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