As Catholicism is the main religion inPortugal, Christmas is aboutremembering the birth of Jesus andbeing kind to other But it is also a time for gift giving, family and friend gatherings, and yummy meals! In our country Christmas traditions are not very different from those in most European countries. But each culture adds a tiny different flavour to these celebrations.
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS The Christmas season starts at advent and ends on January 6th ("Dia de Reis" or Kings Day). Our houses are decorated with Christmas decorations, including the Christmas tree, with baubles, tinsel, angels and lights...
NATIVITY SCENESetting up the crib is a major Christmas tradition inPortugal.The crib is a scene showing the birth of Jesus Christ. Some families only display the three main figures: Infant Jesus, Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. The figure of Infant Jesus is usually placed in the crib after midnight mass.
NATIVITY SCENE Others create large scenes with other figures like the Three Wise Men, the shepherds and the sheep, angels and beautiful landscapes with lakes, hills and rivers.
“CONSOADA”On Christmas Eve, families gettogether and have a meal called"Consoada”.This family dinner consists of codfishwith cabbage and boiled potatoes, codfish cabbage potatoes olive oil
CHRISTMAS DESSERTSChristmas desserts vary from region to region but include: aletria sweet rice (vermicelli pudding)(rice pudding) filhoses (pumpkin fritters)
CHRISTMAS DESSERTS Bolo Rei or King Cake, a cake with candied fruit, raisins and nuts. mexidos a pudding of walnuts,hazelnuts, almonds, raisins and bread
CHRISTMAS DESSERTS coscorões (fried rolled pastry sprinkled rabanadas with sugar and cinnamon)(Portuguese "French toast”)
“ALMINHAS A PENAR”According to tradition the table shouldn’t be cleared:thedishes should be left unwashed and the leftovers shouldremain on the table overnight. Tradition says that these leftovers are a gift of food for the "alminhas a penar" or the souls of the dead. In return we hope good fortunes for the coming year.
MISSA DO GALOAfter the meal, people go tochurch for the Missa do Galoor Mass of the Roosterservice. It starts at aboutmidnight. After the service people return home, place the figure of Infant Jesus in the crib, open their presents and enjoy some more Christmas desserts.
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS In Portugal children are told that they receive the gifts from baby Jesus who is the helper of Santa.The presents are left under the Christmas treeor in the "sapatinho“ shoe, by the fireplace.
CHRISTMAS LOGAnother important detail ofChristmas Day is the burningof a Christmas log ( cepo deNatal in Portuguese). Theflame of the log is supposed toburn all day.Some people keep the ashes to burn alongwith pinecones during storms. According totradition, this will protect your house frombeing struck by a lightning.
CHRISTMAS DAYOn ChristmasDay, families gatheragain for lunch and theyusually eat stuffed turkeyand farrapo velho.Traditional dessertsfollow. Farrapo velho is a dish made of the leftovers of the “consoada” The leftovers of codfish, potatoes and cabbage are fried together with olive oil and garlic.
JANEIRAS The Janeiras consist of a group of people going from house to house singing in the New Year and sometimes playing traditional musical instruments. Traditionally, people go out to the streets to sing Janeiras between December 25 and January 6. The singers are rewarded with chestnuts, nuts, apples, and cured sausages. These days, chocolates are often offered too.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlRSh-IaWmw
NEW YEAR’S EVEOn New year’s eve thereare a lot of socialgatherings, during whichpeople dance, eat, drinkand watch fireworks. As a part of a New Year’s Eve tradition is the eating of 12 raisins, representing one wish for each month of the coming year. Doing so, it is believed our wishes will be fulfilled.