In Portugal, at the end of November and beginning of December, the streets are adorned with trees and fairy lights, specially in big cities like Lisbon and Porto. A tree full of lights is illuminated and the Christmas songs are heard on television and radio .
The day before Chistmas “Dia de Consoada” (the 24th of December)
December 24 th , the day before Christmas Day is called Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Eve, people spend the day with their families and women begin, in the afternoon, preparing everything for dinner, which begins about 7 p.m..
Men help women in their tasks more cumbersome and the wood burns in the fireplace to get a cozy warm night in the cold December. Meanwhile, children play, bringing joy to the party.
After Midnight :
Around midnight children go to sleep, hoping that Santa Claus comes down the chimney and put their gifts in the Christmas tree. Most of the adults go to the traditional “Missa do Galo”, a special mass in Christmas eve.
The Nativity scene is a Christian reference of the birth of Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem, 2008 years ago.
Is represented by:
- The baby Jesus
- Virgin Mary
- S. Jose
- the three kings
- a cow and a bull
Sometimes there are other figures such as shepherds, sheep, angels...
The Nativity scene is exposed not only in churches, but also in private homes and even in many public places. But with the advent of the Christmas tree, the Nativity scene, increasingly, occupies a secondary place in the traditions of Christmas.
Santa Claus is associated with the idea of a man already with a certain age, fat, with red faces and a big white beard, who wears a red suit and leading a sleigh pulled by flying deer. According to the legend, on Christmas night he visits all the houses, coming down the chimney and leaves presents to all the children who have behaved well throughout the year.
According to Christian doctrine, the exchange of gifts at Christmas symbolizes the gift that God gave to humanity at the time when Jesus was born in Bethlehem to save us. The exchange of Christmas gifts is supposed to symbolize friendship and empathy that people feel for each other. Today there is a less poetic idea, the exchange of gifts is sometimes a mere social obligation.
Fresh Noodles “Aletria Doce” (Entre Douro e Minho)
Sweet Rice “Arroz Doce” (região de Lisboa)
Flounder of grain and almonds “Azevias de Grão e Amêndoa” (Alentejo)
“ Bolos Podres de Natal” (Ribatejo)
“ Brinhóis” (Alentejo)
Broas of Species “Broas de Espécie” (Estremadura)
“ Filhoses” (Beira Baixa)
Scrambled eggs with almonds “Mexidos de Ovos com Amêndoa” (Entre Douro e Minho)
“ Migas Doces” (Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro)
French toast or golden slices “Rabanadas ou Fatias douradas” (Estremadura)
Dreams “Sonhos” (região de Lisboa)
Sweet Soup “Sopa Doce” (Entre Douro e Minho)
And finally… a typical recipe of Portuguese Christmas:
Revenue of “bolo rei”
“ Bolo Rei” is a sweet bread which is traditionally eaten on Epiphany (6th January) in Portugal Epiphany to celebrate the passing of the Three Kings. However it is becoming more and more popular to be eaten during the Christmas period .
Pour 330 g flour into a large bowl and make a mould in the centre. Blend the yeast with the remaining flour and add to the lukewarm water. Add the mixture to the bowl containing the flour, combine well and shape the dough into a ball. Add the salt, lemon zest, egg yolk, sparkling wine and the melted margarine. Knead the dough well (it should have the consistency of a bread dough).
Then add the diced glace fruit to the dough and knead again. Cover the dough and leave to rest in a warm spot until double in size. Knead the dough once again and shape into a ring. Place the ring of dough onto a baking sheet dusted with flour. Now insert a small coin wrapped into tissue paper and the dried bean into the dough. Cover the holes. Allow the cake to rise once again. Brush the cake with beaten egg and decorate with glace fruit. Bake in an oven at 160 °C for approx. 1 hour until golden brown. Once the cake has cooled, brush the candied fruit with jelly and dust with icing sugar.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade (or in a blender or electric mixer set at highest speed), buzz the mozzarella, butter, sugar, and cinnamon about 60 seconds non-stop until smooth and creamy; scrape down the work bowl sides with a rubber spatula and beat 60 seconds longer. Note: It will take longer for the electric mixer to reduce the mixture to creaminess - perhaps 3 to 4 minutes of steady beating.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition; add the flour and snap the motor on once or twice to blend inches Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, cover and chill several hours.