Portuguese Easter celebration – customs, habits and traditions

The Bandeira Street is ready for Easter, frestivo

The Bandeira Street is ready for Easter, ©frestivo/Flickr

Portugal is a European country where religion is an essential part of its culture. Many traditions, celebrations and customs are strongly connected to important religious dates and events throughout the year. The Easter celebration, which last for a week, is among the most important events. During this major celebration hundreds of pilgrims go to Braga where the town celebrates with several nocturnal processions. In Portugal every town and city has its own way to celebrate Easter. Visit during the spring holiday and experience personally the Portuguese culture.

Customs and traditions

During the Easter celebration in Braga the townspeople organize a whole series of processions which take place during the night such as the Senhor da Cana Verde, meaning the Lord of the Green Cane on Thursday night and the Good Friday Burial Procession. In the city of Porto there are Easter-egg workshops, traditional performances and processions, text readings and many other activities. In a little village called Sapiaos locals recreate the Way of the Cross on Good Friday. People follow the trail, they stop at every station where they sing and read text from the Bible connected to the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Easter, IASD Americanópolis/Flickr

Easter, ©IASD Americanópolis/Flickr

Historical roots

In Castelo de Vide there are several cultural activities which during the Easter celebration. In this town Jewish culture coexists with Christian traditions and together they keep alive the historical roots. On Saturday the Blessing of the Lambs is organized, an event where shepherds gather with their flocks and bring them to the town center to be blessed. Other highlights include the Sunday Resurrection Procession and the Easter Monday holiday.

Castelo de Vide, Neville 10/Flickr

Castelo de Vide, ©Neville 10/Flickr

Medieval traditions

In the beautiful town of Obidós there are customs and traditions which go back to the early medieval age. Attend the concerts, masses, processions, conferences and recitals. You can visit exhibitions and there are several different activities for children. Don’t miss out on the two torchlight processions. We also recommend you visit Sardoal during this season and attend the Fogareus procession, a bonfire during which all the lights and illuminations on the streets are turned off and only candles, torches and lanterns light the town.

Views and decorations

In Sao Bras de Aportel the streets on Easter Sunday are covered with flaming torches and fresh fragrant flowers. Also in Monchique on Thursday night the streets are filled with candle lights. In many other regions of Portugal the house façades, balconies and windows along the procession routes are decorated with colorful quilts and scarves. There is a procession on Good Friday and on Resurrection day, Easter Sunday.

The Bandeira Street is ready for Easter, frestivo

The Bandeira Street is ready for Easter, ©frestivo/Flickr

Leave a Reply