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Easter in Portugal is very celebrated. It is an important time for family and friends to get together. This year, due to the confinement, it is difficult to celebrate this time but if you are living in Portugal you can enjoy a good portuguese “folar” at home (more about this in this article).

In the north of the country, Easter public holiday is monday while in Lisbon and the south it is friday. Easter visits, special gift from godparents to their godchildren and processions are one of the events more important for Easter in Portugal. Find out more about these traditions in the article.

1. The Easter visit : the “compasso”

The “Compasso” is a group of people with a priest who visit every house to announce the resurrection of Christ and bless the houses and those who live there.

During the visits, the families prepare big tables full of food with almond sweets, cakes, port wine and an Easter envelope (with money) which they give to the procession.

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This is a tradition which continues nowadays in the rural areas, mainly in the north of Portugal.

Compasso

2. The famous easter food : the “folar”

As in many countries, chocolate is very popular in Portugal for Easter. But for Easter in Portugal, there is another very famous traditional food : the “folar”.

There are many different types of folar. The form and content of the “folar” is different according to the Portuguese’s regions. It can be sweet, salty, round… There are 17 different kinds of folar !

The tradition is that the godparents give a folar to their godchild at Easter. Nowadays, the folar is often replaced by a gift or money. In return, godchildren offer an olive branch to their godfather and violets to their godmother. This tradition also extends to family and loved ones. So if you want to show your friendship to someone close to you, consider giving them a “folar”. Here are the 3 most famous “folar”:

“Folar da Páscoa” also called “Folar de ovos” :

This is the famous one. It is round with a cooked egg in the middle. This folar is eaten at Easter time. The egg in the folar symbolises the birth of a new period. This symbolism is synchronized with the end of the fast for Christians and with the liberation of the Jewish people from Egypt for Jews, but it is also the beginning of spring when nature buds again after a long winter.

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Folar da Páscoa

“Folar de Chaves” also called “Folar de Valpaços” :

There are also salted folar, they are mostly found in the north of Portugal, especially in the region of Trás-os-montes, and mostly in the towns of Chaves and Valpaços. This folar is stuffed with one or more meats : pork, veal, presunto, sausage, chicken…

Folar de Chaves

“Folar do Algarve” also called “Folar de Olhão” or “Folar de folhas” :

Folar do Algarve has many differents names : Folar do Algarve – Folar de Olhão – Folar de folhas, it is typical of the city of Olhão. It is sweet. It is prepared with flour, salt, eggs, water and sugar. Its texture is flaky and the folar is coated with honey, brown sugar and cinnamon. It is my favorite one because I love honey !

Folar de Olhão

3. Processions

This year, 2021, is special due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The usual processions will not take place, but normally many processions and celebrations take place throughout Portugal for Easter. Óbidos, Braga and the Algarve are the cities and regions where the celebrations are most important.

In Braga, the city is decorated with many ornaments and altars called “Passos”. They are decorated with flowers and carried through the streets. There are 2 important processions : the Ecce Homo and the Enterro during which you can see the “farricocos”, men marching barefoot, heads covered with purple or black tunics.

Farricocos in Braga

In Óbidos, in central Portugal, the last moments of Christ’s life on the Way of the Cross are depicted within the walls of the citadel.

Way of the cross in Obidos

In Loulé, in the Algarve region, the Festas da Mãe Soberana (Mother of God Festivals) attract many visitors.

Festas da mae soberana

Conclusion

Easter in Portugal is highly celebrated and traditions are well established. Have you already spent Easter in Portugal ? Which are the traditions you liked the most ?

Source: https://villaferia.com/

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By Lala