Easter in Portugal
Easter is now known worldwide for the eggs and bunnies, but in Portugal you can still find old traditions, specially in the countryside. These traditions are almost all religious, Catholicism has been the most important religion in Portugal for century's and Easter has been celebrated in a Catholic way.
This hub is about the Easter in Portugal, including the religious part and the holidays you can have during the Easter in Portugal.
The religious Easter takes place in the small villages and in the most catholic parts of the country, typically northern Portugal.
Easter is not only about religion, it is also about food, check the Easter "Folar" in this hub to know more about the typical Portuguese food in the special season.
Easter Holidays in Portugal can be sunny or rainy, it is uncertain how the weather will be during that time of the year, for some Portuguese it is the first time they go to the beach.
The main religion in Portugal is the Roman Catholic and it is estimated that more than 80% of the 10 million population are baptized. This number is decreasing since less newborns are being baptized because most parents these days do not believe in Catholicism.
It is also estimated that 20% of the population attends mass, specially in the rural areas where Sunday mass is still attended every week. During Easter the attendance is greater, since the "less" Catholics and family also attend the Easter mass.
The celebrations of Páscoa (Easter) are used to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ
"Quaresma"/Lent is the period of 40 days(47 if you count the Sundays) before the Holy Friday and after the Ash Wednesday (After Carnival). It can be compared to the Ramadan due to the importance to the Catholic followers.
This period of time is considered a period for Catholics to spend some of their time thinking and meditating, it is also a period of fasting and avoiding eating meat on the Fridays.
Holy Friday - The Friday Before Easter
The Friday before Easter is known as the "Sexta-Feira Santa". Nowadays in this Friday the most religious people continue the tradition to not eat meat, it is a sign of respect because it was the day when Jesus died. However this tradition is mainly respected in the small villages.
It is also a religious Holiday, and some companies also give the Thursday afternoon to their employees. This happens because during Thursday and Friday many people travel to meet with the family and celebrate Easter together.
During Sunday the people receive the Holy visit at their home and eat to celebrate the life of Jesus. It is also when the most religious eat meat again and the "Folar".
The tradition of receiving the Holy visit is also typical in the countryside, in most cities there is no holy visit to apartments.
The Religious Visit
In the small villages there is still the tradition of cleaning the house and preparing it for the visit of the priest, or other church representative. The priest goes to every house in the village to give his blessing to the house and its inhabitants.
In order to well receive this holy visit, the place where the priest is received should have a table with "Folar" and liquor or Oporto wine.
The priest is normally welcomed at the Dining room, where everything is prepared so he can feel welcomed.
"Folar" is the typical Portuguese bread to eat during Easter. It is made of water, salt, eggs and flour. The flavour depends on the region, and even Portugal being a small country, it can vary from a salty flavour (more in the north) to a sweet flavour (predominant in the south).
For example in the north there is a folar where they put all types of meat, and in a south they put cinnamon, lemon and honey.
Some of the ingredients are:
Home Made Folar
Nowadays in Cities
In the cities the catholic celebrations are not so usual and the celebrations are made with the family. For some families they make the typical Sunday lunch without celebrations for the Easter.
Others enjoy the long weekend, since Friday is national holiday, and travel. Some travel to their home villages in countryside where they meet their family and enjoy a more similar catholic Easter, others just go on a small holiday and with a bit of luck, Algarve already has sun and beach to enjoy.
Due to the globalization the Easter Bunny and the Easter Eggs appear in stores and many kids receive Easter Chocolate Eggs as a present.
Enjoying Easter in the Beach
In the beaches of Algarve in April, the weather may be sunny and the temperatures are normally between 20 degrees during the day and 10 degrees by night. This is already good weather specially for the English tourists.
During the Easter Holidays, the south of Portugal is a place where you can enjoy the first warm days of the year at the beach.