Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Portuguese Christmas Traditions II

On Christmas Eve Portuguese families gather around the Christmas tree and the Crèche to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Traditionally, children are in charge of collecting materials for the Crèche.
While some families only display the three main figures, Infant Jesus, Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, others create large scenes with the three figures, the Three Wise Kings, the shepherd and the sheep, lakes (made with mirrors) and hills (made with stones, moss, and clay).

Most children write letters to Infant Jesus asking for presents rather than to Santa Claus. (Not so true anymore because of all the advertising around Christmas speacially on TV)

On Christmas Eve, supper (called "Consoada") consists of codfish with boiled potatoes and cabbage.
After the meal, people eat traditional fried desserts (very healthy ;) ): "filhoses or filhós", "rabanadas", "azevias", and "aletria" wich is a vermicelli sweet with eggs (typical of Douro and Minho region). Another traditional dessert is "Bolo Rei".
In addition to these desserts there are many other that differ from region to region.

Some families attend the Midnight Mass (called "Missa do Galo"). After the Mass people gather around the table and have supper (called "Ceia de Natal").

In some regions of the country, carolers sing Christmas carols (called "Janeiras") in the streets.

Some families will open the presents (that are displayed around the Christmas tree) on Christmas Eve around midnight.
Others open them in the morning of the 25th, Christmas Day.
Some families put one shoe ("sapatinho") of each child next to the chimney (since most of the kitchens in Portugal have one) or next to the fireplace instead of a stocking.

On Christmas Day, people eat stuffed turkey for lunch and the traditional desserts.

During the holiday season towns are decorated with lights.

The festivities end on January 6, "Dia de Reis".


A. said...

where do you get the patience to do this, girl?! :-D

PAT said...

I'm bored and i made that with the help of some webpages :D

A. said...

:-D I had a 4 hour meeting about web services! and the stupid thing is that I had a lot of fun! %-P