The Festival of the Iberian Masks


One of the things I absolutely adore about travel is the likely hood that you'll run into something wonderful and unexpected. Such was the case, when we accidentally found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the Festival of the Iberian Masks. Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013

The what?

The Festival of the Iberian Masks is relatively new, less than ten years old and is a joyous celebration of Portuguese culture.

Drummers Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013

Drummers Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013

Loud, bawdy and fun, it feels like a carnival of sorts. Participants dress in elaborate and colorful costumes and masks as they march, gyrate and holler in celebration of their shared story.

Children Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013There were masks that resembled bull heads, there were masquerade style masks, and priest costumes. The masks and costumed dress served to preserve an individuals anonymity as they are allowed the freedom of expression. People used this to their full advantage as some marchers veered off the parade course interacting with  spectators. One man, with a bull-horn mask, went so far as to head butt unsuspecting observers. It was all in good fun as he was met with shrieks of excitement and chuckles.


Even Ohm, who is afraid of clowns and big bird, laughed and clapped to the music and at the masks.


The parade marched down Terreiro do Paço, up Rua do Ouro (where we happened upon it), and into Praça do Rossio (one of Lisbon's main downtown squares).

What sorts of discoveries have you happened upon on your travels?