Christmas Traditions in Portugal
Christmas is the most awaited event in Portugal. The Portugal people are no less than the others to make this festival special for them. They enjoy their event by celebrating it with great enthusiasm and religious zeal and zess.
In this region, people have strong belief in giving gifts to the children, family and to the friends, and this gift giving belief is of religious nature. So they make special arrangements for giving gifts on the special occasion of Christmas. Children fill their shoes with carrots and grass and place them on the doorsteps or on windowsills on 5th January, with a belief that three wise men would come on their horses, the carrots and grass will attract their horses to their house and the three wise men would fill their shoes with gifts. These gifts are mostly candies and sweets for the children. Gifts are a part and parcel of Christmas celebrations in Portugal. They do not identify red dressed Santa Clause as a person who brings gifts to them, rather they have another tale of three wise men who give gifts to them.
They enjoy a special Christmas celebration feast called The Consoda which is taken in the morning of Christmas day. The Portuguese enjoy this feast while enjoying other customs of the occasion. At this feast, they set additional place that is meant for the souls of the dead ones. By this, they have superstitious beliefs that this will bring fortunes and good luck to them the next year. They burn the piece of oak tree on a hearth all the day-long which is named as “Christmas log” or Cepo de Natal, which keeps on burning throughout the day and people enjoy their special Christmas feast.
One more very special thing to them is a Christmas tree. The adorn their Christmas tree with festive items and ornaments of decoration, that may include lights, stars, fairies, toys, crystal ornaments, engraved ornaments, Christmas balls and other items of a kind.
Portuguese set up the crèche for which the items are collected by the children. This is to represent nativity. Some of them only display the three main figures, i.e. child Jesus, Innocent Mary and St. Joseph.
The Portuguese people also enjoy midnight mass, which they name Missa, and after that they head towards their homes after celebrating their event.