The second day of the third edition of the Feira de Tertúlias in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira was marked by a parade that brought together dozens of people to defend the unruly party and the trade union movement. The initiative included a walk from the headquarters of the Humane Society of Volunteer Firefighters in Vila Franca de Xira to Praça de Toiros Palha Blanco, where a cow was held. The track was set to the rhythm of the music of the Ateneu Artístico Vilafranquense, which aroused the curiosity of those who did not participate in the show, but were watching from their windows.
The initiative was attended by the presidents of the Chamber and Diocese of Vila Franca de Xira, Fernando Paulo Ferreira and João Santos, respectively, as well as the president of the Associação de Tertúlias Tauromáquicas, Guilherme Nunes, and the Provider of Santa Casa de Misericordia, Armando Carvalho. Several topics were discussed, namely the necessity of adapting the bullfighting show to the new era and knowing how to deal with criticism and “bias” from those opposed to the unruly party.
Guilherme Nunes, 59, heads the Association of Congregations created in 2014, formerly the Confederation of Congregations. He explains to O Mirante that he deals well with opposing opinions and that the democratic spirit is always present. “Criticism is part of life and fans have to understand it and learn to deal with it. Bullfighting is the target of criticism, some are very aggressive, but we don’t have to reciprocate,” he asserts. Part of the association’s new project includes attracting more young people to participate in events such as, for example, Festa do Colete Encarnado, where the association has already collaborated with 31 congregations in the province.
Gatherings are a space where friendship reigns
After interventions by mayors and leaders, participants gathered for socializing with food and drink, before watching a cow in a bullring. Miguel Madeira, 46, took part in the show on April 30, along with 10 other friends and partners of Tertúlia Faena Buena. The association does not have a president to select the members, it is run in an informal manner and depends on the logical opinion of all. For Miguel Madeira, the show was a good way to relive what traditionally happens during the Vest Incarnate, and so is an excellent indication that the return of the province’s biggest bullfighting party will be a success.
Bernardo Lopez, 24, of Tertiglia Porta Grande and Paolo Vitorino, 47, of Tertilia or Mata Cavallos, shared the view that social gatherings keep tradition alive, but above all is a movement in which friendship reigns. Bernardo Lopez, in addition to being a pitchfork in the Vila Franca de Xira group, is one of the youngest congregation heads, something he takes great pride in, he admits. The leader says the rallies movement was more dynamic because there were more young people. Both congregations have over thirty members each, revealing a sign of cultural vitality and identity.
Defending the roots and culture of Villafrancoense
João Santos, president of the Junta de Vila Franca de Xira, attended the opening of the fair as mayor, but also as a fan, although he is aware that he understands little of the techniques and vocabulary of festa brava. “I love the show I grew up watching,” he insists. For the president, gatherings are tools that perpetuate the cultural identity and cultural history of the people. He adds that it is a fundamental movement for the development of the municipality with which both the parish council and the council are working closely to create a greater dynamism and defend the roots and culture of Villafrancoenses.
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