Having just spent the weekend making mince pies and experimenting with Christmas recipes and home-made gifts, our excitement about our upcoming Portuguese Christmas has reached a rather high level. In fact waking up this morning to find it is still over a month away and that we both have a load of work to do was rather depressing.
This will be our second Christmas in Portugal and we now have a lot of family members either here or visiting—if fact it will probably be the biggest Christmas family gathering I have experienced.
I am very much looking forward to all the usual things – watching cheesy movies, eating far too much junk-food and playing board games, not to mention enjoying the one day of the year when drinking champagne first thing in the morning is a cause for celebration rather than concern!
This year, we would also like to try to incorporate some more Portuguese traditions into our Christmas in Portugal.
I’m not going to do the bacalhau (salted cod) on Christmas eve thing, but will be attempting to cook it between now and Christmas, having made a commitment to a reader of the blog to do so 😉
I will also be attempting to cook a Bolo Rei (a Portuguese Christmas / New Year cake.) I understand from research that the tradition is to incorporate a medal or ring in the mixture as well as a dried broad bean. The person finding the medal is the lucky prize winner and the person finding the bean is responsible for paying for the cake the following year.
I have eaten bolo rei before and found it very tasty and full of seasonal spice flavour, but always somewhat dry, so I will see what I can do to make a slightly more moist version of this festive food.
Finally, we also have a small nativity scene ready to form part of our traditional Portuguese Christmas decorations. Nativity scenes are a seemingly essential part of any Portuguese Christmas.
So, those are our outline plans to make Christmas a little more Portuguese, but I would love to hear from readers in response to this post.
What are your Christmas traditions? If you live abroad have you started to incorporate local customs into your celebrations? And, most importantly, which Portuguese traditions should I learn about that I haven’t already?
I hope to hear some ideas. Now, I have to try to stop thinking about Christmas and get on with some work. Seasons greetings, and have a good week.
Photo credit: Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves