Christmas traditions in Portugal

Christmas traditions in Portugal

The local customs and cultural elements are what make a people different, unique, and the season colorful and merry. The Christmas traditions in Portugal represent a strong identity element, one that defines the country and attests to its uniqueness.

As is the case with most European countries, Portugal has an old Christian legacy, so celebrating the birth of Christ is the most important religious celebration of the year. To that we add the laic elements that have turned Christmas into the popular celebration of gift-exchanging over the past century and we have the recipe for a very merry season.

The scene of Nativity with its reenactments is a very popular theme in Catholic countries. It is present in Portugal as well. The stable with Baby Jesus and the other characters are minutely represented on a small scale in most houses. So the Christmas Tree is not the only symbol pf Christmas in Portugal.

From the Anglo-Saxon world, we have the tradition of the Yule of Christmas. The Portuguese have their own version of log called cepo de Natal. It is an oak piece that burns through Christmas Day.

Santa Claus is called Pai Natal in Portugal. Though his name might be different, his attributes are the same: bringing presents to children. In some homes, parents tell their children that Baby Jesus brings the presents instead of Father Christmas.

Consoda is the meal taken on Christmas Day, after the family returns from church. A rather peculiar Portuguese tradition is placing a dish on the table for the dead to enjoy the feast with the living family left behind. A bit lugubrious, you would say, but the locals are used to it.

Also in the dark humour note, the Portuguese children go caroling from door to door, but start singing mockingly if the tokens they receive are not to their liking.

By Lisbon Airport Transfers