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Christmas traditions from north to south of Portugal

Christmas in Portugal is celebrated in different ways depending on the region or even the family in question. This is because every person chooses to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the way that he or she prefers. Even so, there are traditions that may exist between families and places, which are conventionally practiced in this festive season.

Food that is traditionally cooked and eaten on those days ends up returning once again to many parts of the country. More or less frequently Portuguese families tend to choose traditional dishes such as cod, octopus or the famous Christmas turkey, but there are also other specialties that vary according to the Portuguese region in question. With regards to sweets there are some differences in regional terms, because the typical Christmas delicacies that we find in the southern region are different from those in the central or the northern regions.


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Further north of Portugal, in the Porto area, it would not be Christmas without the delicious French toast, without the smell of vermicelli or fig tasting. And to wear out all the warmth that Christmas brings to your belly, it is customary to find many activities to do and see in Porto, such as the Christmas lights on Avenida dos Aliados or the ice rinks in Rotunda da Boavista and Praça da Batalha.

Further down in Lisbon we can also find some of the typical dishes from various regions of Portugal, such as the Bolo Rei cake that appears year after year in the Portuguese homes, the donuts that we also see quite a bit of throughout the country, the azevias or even the French toast better known in this area by golden slices. In the capital there is also the opportunity to enjoy various activities related to Christmas, such as the Popular Christmas Fair in Entrecampos, the giant Christmas Tree in Terreiro do Paço, and the Wonderland Lisbon in Eduardo VII Park.

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Continuing down through Portugal, we go to the Algarve where the festive tradition is also felt in a very unique way. In this region, which is by nature more pleasant and sunny, the Christmas specialties continue to whet the appetite and examples of this are the already mentioned donuts and French toast, but also the typical empanadilhas, the nostalgic cornflakes and a very characteristic variation of azevias. Even though this region does not feel the winter cold as much, many activities that are related to Christmas also take place here.

In addition to many Christmas concerts organised by different sectors in the region, it is also possible to participate in the Christmas Fairs of Lagoa and Carvoeiro or even the arrival of Santa Claus and his reindeer to the Forum Algarve.

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