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French Invasions in the 76th Court of the Paper Suit in Porto

Foz do Porto received special generals and marshals from the French Invasions and a Marilyn Monroe dressed in crepe paper to participate in the Costume Party, a centuries-old tradition within the Festivities of Saint Bartholomew.

With the theme of the French Invasions and its victory, the tradition of the Paper Costume Contest, which ends with a ‘holy bath’ in the Atlantic Ocean, was able to count, in this 76th edition, a masked figure of General Junot, but Marches Soult and Massena, as well as the brothers Metralha, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Florbela Espanca also marched on the parade.

Daniela Paiva, a fan of the ancient tradition of the ‘holy bath’, was only one among about three thousand people, according to data from the Parish Union of Aldoar, to see the procession that had 450 extras.

The party is charming, she confesses, noting that the crepe paper, being a “soft” and “light” paper, is great for working on the special dresses of the participants in the parade.

Ana Furtado, vice president of the Union of Parishes of Aldoar, Foz do Douro and Nevogilde, explained that only in that Union of Parishes there were about ten seamstresses working for several months in a sewing studio, coordinated by the designer Dolores Gouveia , to cut and sew the costumes, props and shoes of the extras who were to parade in the procession, under the theme of the French invasions.

The purpose of the procession is to take a dip in the sea, which is dyed with the colors of the paper crepom, tells the author, explaining that the tradition of the holy bath refers to the nineteenth century, when the pilgrims came to that western part of the Porto give “seven dives to purge the sins or maladies” that they would have “committed throughout the year”.

After the procession has been made in the past using newsprint, the paper is crepon, because it makes it easier to cut and sew to get everything ready on the day of the Role of Paper, recalls the mayor.

The parade starts at Cantareira, at the beginning of Rua do Passeio Alegre, and after passing Rua Senhora da Luz, Avenida Brasil, Rua Coronel Raul Peres, Rua de São Bartolomeu, ends at Praia do Ourigo, next to the Lighthouse , has a route of about two kilometers away.

This year the court opened the Marcial da Foz Band, but for the first time the event was also attended by the Nevogilde pauliteiros, from the Association of Residents of Bairro do Aldoar, under the theme of the Legend of Fonte da Moura, as well as with the Association of Residents of Pasteleira, with the artists theme, and which allowed the brothers Metralha, the poetess Florbela Espanca and the American actress Marilyn Monroe to parade side by side.

The Orfeão da Foz with the theme Flowers of Madeira was another of the entities that participated in the procession, which in this edition resumed the tradition of opening the procession with the character of St. Bartholomew, this year incarnated by the master Xavier, one of the few fishermen still going to work at Cantareira.

The end of the procession is “a total adrenaline rush,” with the hundreds of extras celebrating the many hours and months of work at sea, says Ana Furtado, referring to the holy bath becoming a kind of “rainbow” with the sea dyed by the colors of the crepe paper.

Nuno Ortigão, president of the Union of Parishes of Aldoar, Foz do Douro and Nevogilde, who dressed as sergeant-in-chief of the Forte de São João da Foz to participate in the procession, pointed out that what distinguished this year from the past were the “thousands of people “who joined that party and who considered” to be unique in the world “.

The reasons for so many fans are “good weather”, social networks and a good promotion of cultural event, justifies.

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