People in Portugal love to spend their New Year time, either by spending it with their near and dear ones at house parties, or by being a part of social parties organized at various night clubs, pubs, and discotheques.
Street parties have people singing, dancing, and cheering every moment of the passing Old Year. Many of such parties have Janeiras, or New Year’s carolers, who sing traditional songs all through their procession going through the Portugal streets, and wish everyone who passes by with the best New Year wishes.
Madeira hosts the grandest and the most astounding Portugal party. Apart from the great music, dance, food, and drinks served there, it offers an astonishing light, laser, and color shows. With that, the sky over the entire island seems to get covered up with beautiful lighting and vivid colors, which is visible from far off points of the ocean.
With the arrival of the New Year moment, everyone whistle, cheer out loud, raise a toast or two, and hug and kiss everyone present around.
Almost every town has some sort of fireworks show, either on a big scale or small scale. Setting off firecrackers is done with a belief that noise and fire sways all bad times of the past away to fill the coming time with positivity, peace, and happiness.
Traditional New Year Celebrations in Portugal
There is a tradition of eating twelve raisins by everyone. Each raisin is considered represent a month of the coming year, and while eating each raisin, one has to make a wish for that month.
The arrival of the moment of New Year is celebrated by putting down a toast of champagne down the throat. There is another tradition of baking King Cake or Bolo-Rei, which is eaten in between the Christmas Day of December 25th and King’s Day or Dia de Reis of January 6th.
However, very few people are aware of its true recipe, and therefore, they prefer to buy it from Confeitaria Nacional located in the capital city of Lisbon. Also, one more dish with the name of Caldo Verde e Brao or green broth and corn bread are eaten as a part of traditional New Year celebrations.
There are few other traditions such as keeping some money in the pocket which symbolizes for a wealthy year ahead, wearing blue slippers or panties or boxers which symbolizes for good luck and harmony in the coming year, putting the right foot first while getting down from a chair which symbolizes for optimism in the coming year, and hitting pots and pans loudly which symbolizes for swaying away all evil spirits and negative energies of the past.
On the morning of the New Year’s Day, small children gather at one place, and make a visit to all the houses of the neighborhood while singing special New Year songs, or old songs of Janeiro’s. This is considered to bestow everyone with good luck.
As a mark of their love for children, people in turn gift them sweets and coins. Kissing one’s partner on the midnight of New Year is another Portuguese tradition, very elegantly followed by everyone, and is done with a belief that their love and relationship will grow to a more stable state in the coming year.