Páscoa – Easter in Portugal

Páscoa – Easter in Portugal

Portugal is a Catholic country. On Palm Sunday, the Portuguese go to church with palm leaves or olive branches. Additionally, on that day you can see palm leaves hung in the form of a cross on the streets.

Monte Gordo, Portugal. https://paroquiamontegordo.webnode.pt
Monte Gordo, Portugal. https://paroquiamontegordo.webnode.pt
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On Palm Sunday, children give their godparents small gifts: chocolates or almonds. The godparents repay on Easter Sunday by offering traditional folar cakes. This interesting cake (it looks more like a loaf of bread, not a cake) is baked with eggs, wheat flour and watch out! Boiled eggs in their shells are placed on top before being put into the oven. Different versions of folar dough exist in different regions of Portugal: sweet, salty, with fruit or with meat.

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Folar cake

Maundy Thursday is famous for a tradition called Lava-pés, during which the bishop or parish priest washes the feet of 12 people, symbolizing the twelve Apostles.
During the Holy Week (Semana Santa in Portuguese), spectacular penitential processions take place. The city of Braga, located in the north of the country, is especially famous, during Holy Week it is visited by about 100,000 people to take part in the Easter celebration. The most famous processions are the Judgment of Jesus and the Burial of Jesus, held after dark, in the atmospheric streets of the city, by candlelight, which adds charm and solemnity.

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Procession in Braga
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Procesja w Bradze

Another place that is famous for its beautiful procession is the medieval town of Óbidos, located less than 90 km from Lisbon.

Good Friday is a day off in Portugal, no meat is eaten on this day and the tables are dominated by a national specialty: cod (bacalhau).

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Bacalhau à Gomes Sá

On Easter Sunday the Portuguese have a lunch, which, accompanied by wine, may extend and become a dinner :). The tables are dominated by roasted lamb or goat, which has been marinated for many days before.

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Cabrito assado no forno – roasted goat

Regarding traditional sweets, there are chocolate eggs, chocolate-covered almonds and a whole arsenal of cakes because the Portuguese are gourmands and love sweets :).
In Portugal, almonds symbolize renewal. During Easter, the Portuguese eat almonds in chocolate, in sugar frosting, glaze, in honey, there are delicious almond cakes (I’m not a gourmand but I love the Eastern bolo de amêndoas com doce de ovos).

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Bolo de amêndoas com doce de ovos

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