CHRISTMAS In Portugal
CHRISTMAS in Portugal is a grand affair and is celebrated entirely on the basis of Catholicism. More than 94% of Portuguese are Catholic and hence, one can expect to hear traditional caroling, neon-lit CHRISTMAS trees and Santa Claus, parading around the country on the 25th of December. From ‘Bolo Rei’, the traditional CHRISTMAS cake to setting up the Presepio, CHRISTMAS in Portugal is a blast of vivid colors, delicious aromas, creativity and festive fun! There is a lot more vivacity than just the shopping, the turkey and the lights. Special CHRISTMAS traditions like ‘CHRISTMAS Madeiro’ and the ‘CHRISTMAS Feast of the Immaculate Conception’ are integral to the holiday season in this charismatic nation. In Portugal, the tradition of gift-giving was also defined by the strong Catholic beliefs of the people, and Father CHRISTMAS (Pai Natal) and Infant Jesus are believed to have been born from these beliefs. To know more about the customs and the celebrations in this country, you will have to scroll down, but not before learning how to say Merry CHRISTMAS in local tongue – ‘Feliz Natal’/’Boas Festas’!
History of CHRISTMAS Day in Portugal;
Even though the day of the birth of Jesus Christ isn’t sure, the Catholic Church chose December 25 as the anniversary of Jesus Christ to Christianize a Roman pagan festival that was observed on this day due to the winter solstice. Christians took the holiday and gave it new meaning. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the day became more important in the Christian calendar. Even though it was supposed to be a religious Christian holiday, people have gathered around the CHRISTMAS celebrations many pre-Christian winter traditions like the CHRISTMAS tree and candle decorations which hold meanings of light and life.
CHRISTMAS Day is a public holiday in Portugal;
December 25 is CHRISTMAS Day in Portugal. There is usually no work, most shops are closed, and the country almost stops completely. It is the day that the birth of Jesus is celebrated, and it is an important day for families to get together and enjoy some quality time.
Portugal’s CHRISTMAS Day Traditions, Customs and Activities;
In Portugal it is tradition to prepare the interior of the houses for CHRISTMAS with decorations and colorful lights. The Presépio (or “Nativity Scene” in English) with little statues recreating the scene of the birth of Jesus are displayed near the CHRISTMAS tree. The CHRISTMAS tree is usually placed in the dining room, and the CHRISTMAS gifts are placed under the tree. The gifts are opened after dinner on CHRISTMAS Eve. On CHRISTMAS Day it’s time to enjoy the new gifts and visit family and friends. CHRISTMAS Day is dedicated by some to charitable works like visiting elderly people that have no family around them, giving out food to the poor, and many other charitable works.