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Photographs of Funchal, Madeira at Christmas Time

Updated on December 8, 2017
Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel lives with her family on the Island of Madeira where a warm climate provides the perfect environment to enjoy the outdoor life.

A Nativity Scene In The Centre Of Funchal

Pictures of Funchal, Madeira at Christmas
Pictures of Funchal, Madeira at Christmas | Source
Life Size Camels
Life Size Camels | Source
Life Size Figurines
Life Size Figurines | Source
Life Size Donkey
Life Size Donkey | Source

A Portuguese Christmas Tradition:

Nativity scenes are a huge part of celebrating Christmas on the Portuguese Island of Madeira. Great efforts are made to create amazing settings.

Each village will have a nativity scene centered around the church. Every family will build a lavish nativity scene in their home complete with little houses, real moss, animal and human figurines, even snow capped mountain peaks.

Some scenes will have streams or wells with running water and sandy tracks made from real sand. Others will have delicate little trees and wild gardens from live foliage.

Funchal the capital city boosts the King and Queen of all nativity scenes. The life size characters are so real, you'd almost expect them to speak.

The three wise men and their camels. The little donkey. The heavenly angel. Mary, Joseph and of course the baby Jesus. The figurines are beautiful and the layout is breathtaking. The reality of the scenes are quite overwhelming.

The nativity scene is built using real materials and live moss, plants, small trees and flowers. A big effort is made in producing the nativity set. The deliverance is amazingly lifelike and rather awe-inspiring. It is rather difficult no to feel moved.

Each year the scene is displayed in a different setting in a different location of the city. Great care is taken, from arranging the flowers to the figures clothing.

The tiny houses are amazingly life like right down to their little chimneys. The stretch of modeled landscape is truly ingenious. The attention to detail is pure craftsmanship.

The season is alive and thriving with the true meaning of The Christmas Spirit all around the island. There is an imminent air of expectation. It is truly joyful.

A Funchal Nativity Complete With Village And Villagers

Flower Hut
Flower Hut | Source
Boozy Hut
Boozy Hut | Source
Poncha Hut
Poncha Hut | Source
Traditional Shoes
Traditional Shoes | Source

Christmas Cabins

Dotted around the main streets of Funchal you will be delighted to find intriguing log cabins selling their wares.

The little roofs are covered in leafy branches creating a lush forest feeling. The traders are all dressed up in old style traditional clothes.

Among the stone city buildings the wonder of Christmas is throughly blooming. A happy buzz settles through the colourful streets. The festivities are well on their way.

Beautiful flowers for the festive season create a colourful carpet of blues, yellows, pinks and reds. Green ferns and deep red poinsettias decorate the pavements.

Varieties of Madeira wine and a traditional winter warmer called poncha (a mix of white rum, fresh lemon and orange juice, sweetened with honey) are among the many tipples to sample.

One cabin has an impressive selection of the famous madeiran boots, while next door has woolen hats with ear covers for sale. Still worn today by the mountain folk in winter months.

The sweet aromas of fresh bread, hot donuts, bolo de mel (a sweet dark cake topped with nuts) pork in white wine and garlic (served in fresh rolls) smother the still air with their tempting delicious smells.

Swirling grey smoke signals delicious hot roasted chestnuts for sale from numerous vendors about the city.

Poinsettia Blooms Cover The Streets, Cabins Sell Their Wares and The Smell of Christmas Treats Lingers in The Air

Pretty Poinsettias
Pretty Poinsettias | Source
Christmas Flowers
Christmas Flowers | Source
Reindeers | Source
A Huge Santa
A Huge Santa | Source
Snowmen | Source
Fun Train
Fun Train | Source

The 24 Hour Christmas Market:

A meander along the cobbled streets will introduce you to numerous flower, fruit and vegetable vendors. Their wonderful stalls brimming with fresh produce. Perfect for Christmas day.

The vendors are full of the Christmas spirit and relish in the market festivity. Christmas wishes are expressed with warm smiles and friendly greetings.

The twenty-four hour market begins on the morning of the 23rd of December and continues in a bustle of excitement through the night.

This fabulous event takes place every year and is a wonderful experience to share with loved ones. Strolling through the colourful streets, lit up with Christmas lights and huge glowing baubles is a fabulous experience; quite the fairy tale.

The streets are merry with laughter and Christmas cheer is in every single heart.

Stalls stretch from the main market center right through the main streets. Delightful food smells waft in the air and numerous bars offer easy access for a Christmas tipple.

Musicians play at every street corner. Local carol singers gather in the square to entertain the crowds through the evening hours.

People come in their droves to sample tasty foods, sip a drink or two and purchase their fresh fruit and vegetables for Christmas day.

Old couples hold hands. Young couples giggle and families smile with a camera in hand as the little ones race through the fun train or climb aboard a reindeer's (figure) back.

Snow men of different sizes line the city gardens and the biggest Santa Claus you have ever seen stands by his huge Christmas trunk with wonderful giant colourfully wrapped boxes surrounding him.

Reindeer's pull a snow sledge full of brightly coloured Santa sacks. Gifts for all the good girls and all the good boys hidden inside, waiting to be delivered for Christmas.

Did I already say intriguing? fabulous? delightful? In case I didn't, I'll say it again; intriguing, fabulous and delightful! Oh! and wonderful, exciting, magical...


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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      well it was a very nice hub you deed in writing the about the christmas, keep it on is a nice one.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      10 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I love Funchal and have visited several times. You may enjoy my Funchal Christmas photo too on my "awesome travel photos" hub :) Cheers!

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      10 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Thanx for popping in.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      10 years ago from The English Midlands

      How lovely!

      Thank you for allowing us to see your photographs :)


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