Slowly, the shops are changing their assortment, lights appear here and there, supermarkets start to promote presents heavily and the first Father Christmas dolls make their glorious entrance in the shop windows…Christmas in the Algarve is approaching! Algarve Housing has put some facts of this universal celebration in Portugal in a row.
Christmas in Portugal
Christmas In the Algarve is in the first place, about spending time with family. And about traditions. On Christmas Eve, families will come together and have their Christmas dinner, the “Consoada”, consisting of “bacalhau”, the famous codfish, with boiled potatoes, cabbage and eggs.
After this modest meal, most will attend the Midnight Mass or Missa do Gallo, a catholic tradition. During the Mass, baby Jesus will be carried into the Crib, and everyone can kiss and worship it at the end.
Santa Claus in Portugal
Then, it’s time to head home again, oh happy children, who will see if baby Jesus appeared in their crib (often sneakily put there by a family member), who used to be the one that brought the Christmas gifts. Nowadays, more and more often, Santa Claus is replacing baby Jesus due to its commercialization.
Many will open the presents right then, after the mass; some will keep it for Christmas day.
Christmas in Portugal is also about the delicious sweet treats typical for that time of the year, too, displayed on a table waiting for all who come back from the Midnight Mass.
Most are made out of fried dough and lots and lots of sugar. “Rabanadas” (similar to French toast), “filhoses”(made of pumpkin dough) and “azevias” (filled with a mixture of chick peas, sugar and orange peel) are some of the most popular ones. Not to forget the Bolo de Rei, a typical fruitcake related to Christmas in the Algarve.
The party goes on until late, meaning that Christmas day in the Algarve, is not so animated. The families will eat the “roupas velhas” (old clothes), the left-overs of the previous night with the family and relax, as everything is closed.
Christmas in Portugal is about “presépios”, too, the nativity scenes. Each home will have, and that towns will display in larger sizes and sometimes even with real people and animals playing out the roles. The Portuguese love to go and visit them.
Light decorations in Portugal
Finally, Christmas in Portugal is about beautiful light decorations. You will witness plenty in the cities, and although palm trees with Christmas lights might not give you the same feeling, it does get you into a winter atmosphere.
On the 26th, it’s back to business as usual. Here ends Christmas in Portugal!
New Year in Portugal
It is not a bad choice to welcome the New Year in the Algarve: chances are big the weather will be dry, so you might be able to spend it on the beach! Even around this time of the year, although it attracts more visitors, the Algarve does not get invaded by mass tourism.
You can still enjoy some quietness. Yet there are enough big parties to choose from, in any of the bigger cities of the Algarve.
The Portuguese will bring in the New Year by eating twelve raisins just before 12 o’clock, making a wish for each month and drink champagne.
Where to go with New Year’s Eve in the Algarve?
Lagos is the most laid-back atmosphere: there will be live music, and you can enjoy the fireworks from the beach.
In Portimão, the sky will be lit by an imposing Firework display launched from the Zona Ribeirinha of Portimão and of Alvor and from Praia da Rocha. Before midnight, it will be the centre of big names for giving concerts. After, the party goes on in the bars.
More towards the centre of the Algarve, the smaller town of Armação de Pêra will also have its entertainment with live music and fireworks at the beach.
But Albufeira beats it all in terms of numbers and display, hosting the biggest party of New Year’s Eve at Fisherman’s beach. Big international and national artists will entertain the crowd and attract many visitors, until at midnight, a huge and impressive firework will illuminate the sky.
On the East of the Algarve, you have the choice between Faro, Tavira and Monte Gordo for some firework shows and partying until the sun will rise into the first day of 2020.
New Years Day in Portugal
New Years Day in the Algarve will be quiet and laid back, everyone recovering from the late night. For a fresh start of the New Year, various places New Year’s dives are organized.
Whether you are in Portugal or anywhere else in the world, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!