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Portuguese customs and traditions for Christmas

Portugalskie zwyczaje i tradycje na święta

We have proven methods to make learning Portuguese in our school enjoyable and to bring measurable results. First of all, we make sure that our students have interesting and varied classes. Christmas is coming, so we will present some interesting facts about Portuguese Christmas customs!

Beautiful calm Portuguese holidays

Christmas in Portugal is a really beautiful event – full of warmth, goodness and celebrating the time we can spend with loved ones. The pre-Christmas rush and stress are definitely less visible, and the tension associated with preparation for the special occasion is somewhat less. In the first place this is certainly due to the fact that in December, the Portuguese streets are flooded with gentle rays of sunshine, and for Christmas shopping you can go only in a sweatshirt. Such an aura has a soothing effect on people, allows them to slow down properly, get less nervous and see what is most important in the upcoming holidays.

The tradition of making Christmas cribs is still alive in Portugal

Portugal is divided into many smaller regions where you can see stronger or weaker ties with the old tradition. In the northern part of the country, the custom of building Christmas nativity scenes is cultivated. Each member of the family is involved in this pleasant work, thanks to which the cribs are very diverse, and therefore extremely valuable. The place in the manger remains empty until midnight on December 25, when Jesus was born. Learn Portuguese during Christmas preparations? Of course! Presépio – nativity scene, burro – donkey, estrela – star.

The Portuguese streets smell like oranges

For many of us, Christmas smells like oranges, because in December you can buy the sweetest and most juicy varieties. In Poland in December there is snow on the streets, while in Portugal at the same time, the streets are full of … oranges! Yes, we are buying juicy citruses imported straight from Portugal. This is where the fruit abundance is so great that it grows even in parks or near city squares. Imagine the orange fragrance that rises above the Portuguese streets in December!

The Portuguese Christmas tree is similar to Polish

As for Christmas trees, we can safely say that the Polish and Portuguese tradition do not differ much from each other. In Portugal, live or artificial pine trees are dressed for the holidays, and they are decorated with baubles, chains, dried fruit and lights. Next to Christmas trees sometimes are placed fruit platters or glasses and bottles of wine.

There is a Christmas tree, but where are the presents?

In Portuguese homes, gifts appear under the Christmas tree or in a sock hanging on the fireplace. According to tradition, Christmas gifts are left by Santa Claus, or Pai Natal, and Baby helps him. The moment of surprise is different, however, than in Polish homes – and it falls on the return from midnight mass or Christmas morning. Gifts are rather symbolic, given above all from the heart, although it is known that the fashion for expensive and exclusive Christmas gifts is slowly spreading throughout Europe.

Mass of a rooster, or Portuguese Christmas midnight mass

In fact, in Portugal, the Christmas midnight mass is called Missa do Galo, meaning literally the mass of a rooster. The holiday service has such a name, because according to a legend, on the night of 24 to 25 December, the rooster crowed exactly at midnight, that is, at the time of Jesus’ birth. The song of the rooster means that the night has ended and the day has come – the symbolic birth of Christ.

Learn Portuguese with pleasure

Learning Portuguese can take place during Christmas preparations, it can also be a nice diversion during the Christmas break. One thing is certain, if you want to diversify your lessons with topics related to holidays, cooking festive dishes and Portuguese traditions – contact us, we will definitely choose the most interesting Portuguese learning program for you!

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