How do we celebrate Mardi Gras in Portugal

Many foreign friends of mine often ask me what to do in Portugal in other period of year except summer and I never know what to tell them first because my homeland offers a lot of possibilities to have fun. As this is February, please let me tell you a short story about How we celebrate Mardi Gras, our Carnival, here, inPortugal.

Mardi Grass- more than just a colorful parade

Mardi Gras is a four day celebration that is always organized one week before de season of Lent. Some say that it has something of the colorful parades in Rio. We say that it has more than that. Yes, we use colorful figures and dolls during the parades; yes, we do have fun during these for days, but all these are our way to express our joy of live, freedom, reconciliation; it’s our way to break the rules before going back to order.



Two of the most important scenes that most of the tourists remember about are the Compadres and Comadres tradition and the Entrudo burial. The Compadres and Comadres tradition is actually a symbolic battle between the two sexes and is organized on the two Thursdays before Lent. Young groups of men and woman use crafted dolls dressed in old clothing in order to make fun of the other sex and then change domestic tasks between them. Men start doing women’s tasks and women start acting as men. On the next Tuesday, the rival groups gather together in a public place, each of them reads a list of the imperfections of the other sex and then they all burn the straw dolls.

The Entrudo burial is also about burning a doll in a public space but has more spiritual signification. This is usually organized at the end of the Mardi Gras and is our way to purify ourselves by burning a doll and other symbols of evil spirits.

If you get to travel all over the country during our Carnival, you’ll notice that each region added a specific flavor to this great feast. I could tell you a little more about How do we celebrate Mardi Gras in Portugal but I’m sure that you would appreciate more if you get to discover each one of them by yourselves. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply