Madeira Christmas traditions

Discover an island full of festivals, getting ready for one of its richest annual traditions, celebrated to the fullest!

On Madeira, the lapinha (traditional Madeiran nativity scene), is assembled just a few days before Christmas day. The lapinha, lit with a traditional oil lamp, is built over a wood ladder, decorated with small bowls with rye, lentils and wheat, with small images of donkeys, sheep and goats, brindeiros (small loafs of bread), and seasonal fruit such as apples, oranges, English tomatoes and tangerines.

At dawn, during the Childbirth Masses, celebrated on the days before Christmas, in a spirit of conviviality among families to the sound of animated singers, Madeirans surrender to the ancestral “pig slaughter” tradition, the meat from which is used to prepare traditional seasonal delicacies, especially carne de vinha-d’alhos (meat marinated in wine and garlic). It is also during this period that one of the most delicious cakes of the season, the famous Honey Cake, is prepared. This is a very “rich” cake, prepared using ingredients such as sugar cane syrup, nuts and spices.

After Christmas, families start getting ready for the New Year. A grandiose and exuberantly beautiful spectacle in the unique amphitheater formed by the bay of Funchal brings an unforgettable wealth of celebratory light and colour to the last night of the year.

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Source: Turismo da Madeira

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