OK, so it might be a little early to get into the Christmas spirit. But with only a month to go, it’s worth thinking about your plans. Here in Portugal, we do things a little differently over the festive period, but it’s just as magical. If you’re planning a Christmas wedding for 2018 (it’s a little late for this year) then here are a few things you can expect.
Don’t worry, Father Christmas (or Pai Natal as he’s called here) still visits on Christmas eve so you’ll have plenty of gifts to open. However, the Portuguese celebrate their traditional Christmas meal – called Consoada – on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day.
As you might expect, the dish consists of cod (what else?) with potatoes and vegetables. This is sometimes followed by shellfish and other expensive treats.
Christmas trees were only really introduced to Portugal in the 1970s but have become a firm family favourite. And, being a Catholic country, the nativity scene and story play a big part. Many people still go to mass after dinner on the 24th before returning home to open their gifts.
The traditional Christmas cake is called Bolo do Rei, or King’s Cake. Plenty of port goes around, and everyone indulges in a few azevias of felhozes – traditional sweet treats.
After Christmas (never before) people will go from house to house singing the Janeiras – January songs. The singers are treated to gifts of snacks, like dry figs, chorizo and cheese. Careful, as if you don’t offer them snacks, they might sing songs about you (but it’s all in good fun).
As is the case all over the world, Christmas in Portugal is a time for family fun, tradition and generosity. So if you’re planning a winter wedding, you’re in for a real treat.