Tradições de Natal - christmas traditions
We celebrate Christmas as a very important date. In the vast majority, the Portuguese are Catholics (even if they not practicing) and as we live a lot surrounded by the extended family and we love to spend a lot of time at the table, this is a date when we get together and celebrate the union and the family. We almost always eat cod (usually cooked, with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and grain). In some regions they also eat octopus. We exchanged gifts at midnight and got together again on the 25th for lunch, which goes on into the night. It is very typical to have the table set with the traditional Christmas sweets (french toast, dreams, filhoses...) during the week between Christmas and New Year.
We set up the crib with the children, who love it, and, according to tradition, the baby Jesus should only go to the crib on the 25th. The Christmas tree is set up on January 1 and disassembled on Kings day (January 6 ). The mass of the cock takes place at midnight (between 24 and 25) and is known because they say that when Jesus was born a cock crowed. But there are also some different and even strange traditions ...
Caretos de Varge (Trás-os-Montes) ou Caretos de Desilhão (Vinhais):
É uma tradição pagã, em que os rapazes das aldeias mascaram-se com máscaras assustadoras e coloridas em madeira, assustando as raparigas, aludindo à fertilidade.
It is a pagan tradition, in which the boys of the villages dress up in frightening and colorful wooden masks, scaring the girls, alluding to fertility.
O Bananeiro (Braga):
Há uns 40 anos, um grupo de comerciantes se reuniu no centro da cidade, em frente à Casa das Bananas para comerem uma banana e beberem uma cálice de vinho moscatel e desejar boas festas a quem passava. A tradição cresceu e muitos sãos os que comem uma banana e bebem um banano.
Madeiro de Natal (de Trás-os-Montes ao AltoAlentejo):
Os habitantes das aldeias se reúnem para apanhar lenha, fazendo uma fogueira tão alta quanto à torre da igreja, que é acesa ao anoitecer de dia 24 e arde toda a noite.
Some 40 years ago, a group of traders gathered in the city center, in front of the Casa das Bananas to eat a banana and drink a glass of muscat wine and wish happy holidays to those who passed by. The tradition has grown and many are those who eat a banana and drink a banana.
Magusto da Velha (Aldeia Viçosa):
In addition to the tree, on the night of the harvest, kilos and kilos of chestnuts (typical in Portugal during the fall) are thrown from the church tower and the people collect and bake together.