The carnations of the 25th of April: from Tavira to Lisbon and from Lisbon to the History of Portugal

A video documentary tells one of the most beautiful stories in the History of Portugal

Frame from the video «Cravos de Abril» – Photo: Associação Ecotopia Activa

Everyone knows that carnations are the symbol of the 1974 Revolution, which marked the end of the Estado Novo and brought democracy to Portugal. Offered that day to the soldiers by a Lisbon florist, they remain in photographs and posters and are a symbol of Freedom to this day. What many do not know is that it was at the Tavira Agrarian Post that most of these “April Carnations” were born and raised.

To make this story known, a video documentary was made, called «Cravos de Abril», made by the Ecotopia Activa Association and the “Citizens for CEAT and Hortas Urbanas de Tavira”. The video will be premiered on March 1st, at 17:30 pm, in the Auditorium/Library of CEAT – Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira, with all citizens invited to participate.

The presentation will feature the presence of engineer Guilhermina Madeira, who is the protagonist of the video, as she was, in 1974, responsible for cultivating carnations at the then Posto Agrário, as well as Carolina Caeiro Fontela, granddaughter of Celeste Caeiro, the florist who, in Lisbon, he distributed the flowers to the soldiers.

“The first carnations were for my internship”, recalls Guilhermina Madeira, who started working at the Agricultural Experimentation Center in 1966, at a time when the space was an experimental station for floriculture and horticulture. And, seven years later, in June 1973, she was planting the carnations that would produce the April carnations of the following year.

Just like 50 years ago, red carnations were once again planted at the Agricultural Experimentation Center, now by volunteers and in one of the plots of community gardens, but always under the watchful eye of engineer Guilhermina.

“We sent it on consignment to a distributor in Lisbon”, he continues, adding that they went to Mercado 24 de Julho. That was where the sellers got their supplies to resell.

“We naturally sent the flowers, we had no idea what fate they had afterwards”, recalls Guilhermina Madeira, unaware at that time that it was at the hands of Celeste Caeiro that the symbolic act of the last 50 years came about.


The iconic poster of the boy with the carnation, with photography by Sérgio Guimarães


«After months of care, the carnations are once again ready to travel from Tavira to Lisbon, recreating the temporal journey and giving shape again to the values ​​conquered on April 25, 1974 and to the History of Portugal», explains the Ecotopia Activa association.

The presentation event for the video «Cravos de Abril«, scheduled for March 1st, at CEAT – Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira, starts at 15:30 pm, with a visit to the Collections of Traditional Fruit Trees of the Algarve.

These collections are characterized by high heritage and cultural interest, which, in addition to being mostly unique in the country, are representative of the typical landscape.

The visit aims to publicize the prospecting, preservation and characterization work that has been developed over decades, in this space that was also the place where the 25th of April carnations were implemented and experimented with.

Afterwards, participants are invited to learn a little about the history of this emblematic place in the city, Tavira and Agriculture, in the exhibition «Posto Agrário de Tavira (1926-1974)».

The premiere of the video «Cravos de Abril» takes place at 17:30 pm and features the intervention of very special guests, in addition to engineer Guilhermina and the granddaughter of florist Celeste Caeiro, Mário Júlio Simões Teles, Captain-of-Mar-e-Guerra, will be present and representative of the 25 de Abril Association, Ignacio García Pereda, historian, Ana Paula Martins, president of Tavira Chamber, and also Pedro Valadas Monteiro, vice-president of CCDR Algarve | Agriculture and Fisheries. There will also be space for a moment for public participation.

This initiative is organized by the Associação Ecotopia Activa and the “Citizens for CEAT and Hortas Urbanas de Tavira” and has the collaboration of the Associação 25 de Abril and the support of CCDR Algarve | Agriculture and Fisheries and the Municipality of Tavira.


Photo: Ecotopia Activa Association