Madeira Atlantic Festival – Happy?

Fireworks in Funchal
Fireworks in Funchal

The Atlantic Festival, an event that marks the beginning of the summer season in Madeira, will this year integrate a diverse set of initiatives spread throughout the month of June, most importantly the International Fireworks Competition in Madeira; the Madeira Music Festival; the Regional Arts Week; and the “25th Tour of Madeira in Classic Cars – Classic Car Rally”.
Continue reading “Madeira Atlantic Festival – Happy?”

Christmas Traditions on Madeira Island

The month of December can be a very busy one … especially for those who are preparing for the holidays festivities and Madeiran traditions. One of these traditions is the Presépio …. which is set up starting from 8th of December. It is the Christmas Nativity with all the usual figurines. You will find it in most homes here on Madeira and also in hotels and restaurants.

A hint: when you come across a Presépio … take a few minutes to contemplate the work and if you see the owner/maker of it, praise their work. If you do this before ordering dinner … you might get a discount.

Presépio

Apart from the Presépio, Madeira also has other Christmas customs … such as Lapinha. Lapinha is a display with the figure of baby Jesus on top of what looks like a miniature mountain. In the middle they usually display fruits and the bottom there are small pots of freshly sprouted wheat. The believe is that the seeds are potted between 1st and 8th of December …. and if the wheat is later planted and grows well, a good harvest is assured. Most Lapinha’s are extended with all kind of toys, miniature village, wooden trunks, stones and plastic animals. Some more elaborate constructions boast even mountains made of hardened, dark paper, and water in form of ponds or even a stream. Sapatinhos (Ladies Shoes orchids) and other flowers are also used.

Other tradition is that on the nine days before 24th of December, devoted Madeirans go to mass (very early) in the morning …. to pray for Mary’s nine months of pregnancy, … and each service is finished with a small get-together in front of the church …. most of the times chanting songs, music and enjoying home-made liquor.

But that is not all ….
The traditional-conscious Madeiran, on New Year’s Eve, carries something borrowed, some coins … and 12 raisins in hand. Equipped with these …. at the stroke of midnight … he/she can make 12 wishes … that might be granted until next December.

These are the traditions I could come up with. If I missed any, then please tell us which one in the comments. Obrigado!

Madeira Flower Festival 2011

The theme “The flower that I chose” sets the tone for the Flower Festival of Madeira, which this year is celebrated in the peak of spring. Historically, the flowers are a fundamental feature of the landscape of Madeira.

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Columbus Festival – Festival Colombo 2011

The Columbus Festival was first held in 2000 with the aim of launching a quality cultural tourism offer on the island of Porto Santo. This year it will be held from 15th till 17th of September 2011.

The event is based around the historical figure of Christopher Columbus, who had close links with Madeira both as a sugar trader during the island’s sugar boom years and as the result of his marriage to Filipa de Moniz, the daughter of Isabel Moniz and Bartolomeu Perestrelo, the first Captain-Donatory of Porto Santo, and is held in tribute to the man who became a famous 15th century explorer.

In recent years, the festival has taken on the format of a historical recreation of everyday life in the 15th century, in particular in the period marked by Columbus’s time on the island, which enchants tourists and residents alike.

The programme includes a 15th century fair and supper, the landing of Christopher Columbus, a military detachment, a children’s area with Renaissance games, circus displays, plays, displays by groups of buccaneers and non-stop fun and entertainment including lots of music and European and oriental dances.

The local population and tourists are encouraged to take the part of characters in the festival and period costumes are provided that give an authentic feel to the event.

There are other side attractions taking place simultaneously, including regional gastronomy, crafts and other activities adding to the general bustle amid the historical figures.

Source: Madeira Turismo

This festival needs a better disclosure. Write the dates down in your agenda and visit Porto Santo on those days. It is worth it!

Festa da Anona

The idea of the Festa da Anona (Cherimoya Feast) was born in 1990, through a group of producers of Faial, that wanted to promote their products (fruit) and thus to call the attention the madeirenses in general.

Anona - Cherimoya

The initial idea was a Regional Cherimoya Exhibition, nowadays also known as the Anona Festival, … which is to be held at Faial (Santana), on the North Coast of Madeira Island. This is an exhibition specially dedicated to this fruit and its derivatives,…. such as liquors, puddings, ice creams and (beaten) drinks. The programme, with the participation of some hundreds of farm owners, … includes music and contests, … with a traditional Madeira flavor.

    The cherimoya (Annona cherimola) is a species of Annona. It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 7 m tall. The flowers are produced in small clusters, each flower 2-3 cm across, with six petals, yellow-brown, often spotted purple at the base. The fruit is oval, often slightly oblique, 10-20 cm long and 7-10 cm diameter, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white, and has numerous seeds embedded in it. Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.” Source: Wikipedia


Festa da Anona

Related page (most popular): Regional Festivities Calendar

What is Carnival / Carnaval?

Soon the Carnival fever will start here on Madeira Island … see previous post Carnival – Mardi Gras – Carnaval

But have you asked yourself … what does the word “Carnival” stand for?

Wikipedia offers some answers:

The Carnival Season is a holiday period during the two weeks before the traditional Christian fasting of Lent. The origin of the name “Carnival” is unclear. The most common theory is that the name comes from the Italian carne- or carnovale, from Latin carnem (meat) + levare (lighten or raise), literally “to remove the meat” or “stop eating meat”.

Also how do other countries celebrate it?

England

In England Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day, but apart from the serving of pancakes and occasional pancake races and football matches (see Royal Shrovetide Football), little else of Carnival survived the Reformation. Caribbean influence has led to the establishment of several “West Indian” carnivals, but these are not held in Carnival season. The leading festivities are Notting Hill Carnival in August (reputedly the world’s largest), and Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival in November.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands (where it is called ‘Vastenavond’, ‘Karnaval’ or ‘Carnaval’), the last day of Carnival, the day before Ash Wednesday, is held exactly 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. Dutch Carnival is most celebrated in Catholic regions, mostly the southern provinces Noord Brabant and Limburg, where it is also known as Vastenavond (literally “Fasting evening”, although that strictly refers only to the last day). The most popular places where Carnival is held (although every city, town or village celebrates it) are Maastricht, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Bergen op Zoom and Breda.

Germany

Germany, especially the western part (North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate) is famous for Karneval celebrations such as parades and costume balls. In the South of Germany and Austria carnival is called Fasching and especially Munich developed a special kind of celebration. In Franconia and some other parts of Germany a carnival is called Fastnacht. Although the festival and party season in Germany starts as early as the beginning of January, the actual carnival week starts on the Thursday (“Altweiberfastnacht”) before Ash Wednesday.

Spain

Arguably the most famous locales in Spain are Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Tarragona and specially Cádiz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Aguilas, where the celebration normally takes place the week before Lent. At Santa Cruz de Tenerife the parties of the cities are not only well known in Spain, but also worldwide. It is famous for thematic costumes, and the election of the Carnival Queen. There is also a parade of Drag-Queens, known as reinonas.

Brazil

An important part of the Brazilian Carnival takes place in Rio de Janeiro, with samba schools. These are large, social entities with thousands of members and a theme each year. Blocos are small informal groups also with a definite theme, usually satirical of the current political situation, and bandas are samba musical bands usually formed by enthusiasts in the same neighborhood.

Portugal

Carnival in Portugal is celebrated throughout the country, most famously in Ovar, Madeira, Loulé, Nazaré, and Torres Vedras. The carnivals in Podence and Lazarim incorporate pagan traditions such as the careto, while the Torres Vedras celebration is probably the most typical Portuguese carnival.

Ironically, although Portugal introduced Christianity and the customs related to Catholic practice to Brazil, the country has begun to adopt some aspects of Brazilian-style Carnival celebrations, in particular those of Rio de Janeiro with sumptuous parades, samba and other Brazilian musical elements.

Madeira

On the Island of Madeira, Carnaval maintains its distinctive local roots as well. Funchal, the island’s capital, wakes up on the Friday morning before Ash Wednesday to the sound of brass bands and Carnaval parades throughout the downtown area. That night festivities continue with concerts and shows in the Praça do Município for five consecutive days. The Main Carnaval street parade takes place on Saturday evening with thousands of Samba dancers flooding the streets of Funchal. The traditional public street Carnaval takes place on Tuesday, where the island’s population displays its ingenuity and imagination by creating daring caricatures for the parade.

More information about “carnival” you can read at Wikipedia Carnival

Madeira New Year Fireworks Live Stream

You can watch the famous Madeira New Year’s Fireworks show live … via the following live stream : http://www.ustream.tv/channel/madeira

The broadcast starts today at 23h30 (GMT).

You want a sneak preview of what you can expect to see? Then check the following video of how the city of Funchal greeted the birth of the new year. Video made by Hugo Reis and Victor Freitas. Special thanks to Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts for publishing this video. Continue reading “Madeira New Year Fireworks Live Stream”

Madeira Christmas Traditions

The month of December is a very busy one … especially for the locals who are preparing for the holidays festivities and traditions. One of these traditions is the Presépio …. which is set up from 8th of December. Christmas Nativity with all the usual figurines. You will find it in in most homes here on Madeira and also in all the hotels and restaurants.

A hint: take a minute … contemplate the Presépio and praise to the owner the work they have done. If you do this before ordering dinner … you might even get a discount.

Lapinha - Foto Patxocas

Apart from the Presépio, Madeira also has other Christmas customs … such as Lapinha. Lapinha is a display with the figure of baby Jesus on top of what looks like a miniature mountain. In the middle they usually display fruits and the bottom there are small pots of freshly sprouted wheat. The believe is that the seeds are potted between 1st and 8th of December …. and if the wheat is later planted and grows well, a good harvest is assured. Most Lapinha’s are extended with all kind of toys, miniature village, wooden trunks, stones and plastic animals. Some more elaborate constructions boast even mountains made of hardened, dark paper, and water in form of ponds or even a stream. Sapatinhos (Ladies Shoes orchids) and other flowers are also used.

Other tradition is that on the nine days before 24th of December, devoted Madeirans go to mass very early in the morning …. to pray for Mary’s nine months of pregnancy, … and each service is finished with a small get-together in front of the church …. sometimes chanting songs and enjoying home-made liquor.

But that is not all ….
The traditional-conscious Madeiran, on December 31st before the réveillon, carries something borrowed, some coins … and 12 raisins in hand. Equipped with these …. at the stroke of midnight … he/she can make 12 wishes … that might be granted until next December.