The upcoming holidays and New Year celebrations are about spending quality time with your loved ones, gathering around the dinner table, unwrapping gifts!! I want to wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Maybe you are wandering how's Christmas in Portugal. Well, in Portugal children and adults get their Christmas gifts either at midnight on Christmas Eve or on early Christmas Day morning. It was like this when I was a child and with my nephew it's just the same. Shoes are placed near the fireplace and that's where we place the presents. For many years I lived in houses without a fireplace. So the shoes were placed under the Christmas tree after they were properly cleaned and shinny to please the Pai Natal (=Father Christmas) - he's the guy who delivers the presents along with the help of Baby Jesus. Have you got all your Christmas gifts already? Well, I have. I bought several books because that's something I really enjoy giving. I hand made some gifts myself too. I have most of it ready to go.
Many Portuguese families sets up a Nativity scene, called Presépio, with Mary, Joseph, the stable animals and the Baby. Other characteres can be the Three Wise Men and shepherds. Some cities or church nativity scenes can have hundreds of little caly figurines and movement.
On Christmas Eve we have a light dinner- it's called Consoada. Usually we eat boiled (dried) codfish, and potatos, vegetables and eggs as side dish. Bacalhau (cod) is a fish with a bland taste that needs to be salted and dried in the sun, so it becomes the perfect foil for garlic and olive oil. After that we have cakes and sweet desserts to finish the meal. Bolo rei is the most famous - it's a round cake with glazed fruits, nuts and sugar, quite colorful. And also rabanadas! Rabanadas are slices of white bread that has been soaked in milk and eggs and then fried. Then the fried golden slices get cinamon and sugar and are dipped in sugar and Oporto wine sauce. In some places a traditional Mess takes place at midnight and that's called The rooster mess or Missa do galo. Families usually come together on Christmas Day and have lunch together. This meal is a meat one. And that's it!