How to celebrate Christmas in Lisbon: traditions, weather and what to try

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне, что стоит попробовать и какую одежду взять с собой в путешествие?

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне

Can you believe that a person who in winter loves exclusively hot countries with a beach instead of a Christmas fair and a palm tree instead of a Christmas tree, clapped his hands in delight and fell in love with Portugal at first sight?

That person is me! Read the post and plan a trip to the holiday capital. 

Рождество в  Лиссабоне
First night in Lisbon

Christmas in Lisbon is not a classic European Christmas, but perhaps that's the beauty of it. There are no natural fir trees in the squares, the Christmas fairs are not as lavish as in Prague or Vienna, and there is a slight carelessness and restraint everywhere. That said, there is a mild, warm climate in December, the ocean nearby, and a variety of cool natural locations to visit. And this unusual mix hit my heart. 

Рождество в Лиссабоне
Cascais in the evening

С самолета на уличный бал. Как выглядит Лиссабон на Рождество.

Despite the evening flight and slight fatigue after the 5-hour flight, it was decided to take a walk.

Рождество в Лиссабоне
The public on Rua do Carmo

Lisbon captivated at first sight with its artfully paved sidewalks and festive decorations. The streets are decorated with bright illumination and welcome thousands of twinkling lights: in 2020, 2.5 million LED lights were connected along a length of 25 km. And the Portuguese are not going to stop there - a larger celebration is planned for this year. 

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне

In the main squares, there are Christmas trees and giant Christmas decorations that shimmer in all colors. You can go inside almost any installation and find yourself in the midst of a shining fairy tale.

Рождество в Лиссабоне
Holiday decorations

The main Christmas tree on the Place de la Comércio in Lisbon can be seen from December 1 to January 6. It is not a canonical Christmas tree, but an ecological version made of LEDs.  In 2005, the tree was 76 meters high and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest tree in Europe. 

Рождество в Лиссабоне
The Christmas tree in Lisbon's Plaça Comércio

The first mention of the Christmas tree in Portugal dates back to the 19th century, when King Ferdinand II decided to organize a celebration for his children in the palace and personally handed out gifts, reincarnated as St. Nicholas. He brought this tradition from Germany, his homeland.

Рождество в Лиссабоне
Christmas Alley

Walking through the city center, Christmas carols could be heard from everywhere. And in one of the streets I froze under a balcony where local musicians were holding an impromptu concert. The peaceful atmosphere enveloped me like a warm plaid and made me believe in miracles.

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне
The decorated Armazens do Chiado mall

Traditions. Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне.

★ Wishes.

Рождество – семейный праздник в Португалии, который отмечают дома со своими близкими. Feliz Natal(фелиз натал) – так звучит пожелание Счастливого Рождества на португальском. Также жители пользуются более расширенным выражением «boas festas»(«боаш фешташ»), что означает «счастливых праздников», подразумевая и Рождество, и Новый год. 

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне
Feliz Natal! - welcome toys from the storefront

★ Christmas Dinner.

On Christmas Eve or Consoada, families gather for dinner, the traditional dish being boiled cod or octopus cooked with potatoes and cabbage, generously topped with butter and garlic.

Рождественские традиции Португалия
Octopus is a favorite dish

На десерт к торжественному столу обязательно подают традиционный праздничный пирог Болу Рей ( Bolo Rei). Королевский пирог символизирует дары, которые волхвы преподнесли новорожденному Иисусу. Он сделан в форме короны с запеченной золотистой корочкой. Украшен «драгоценными камнями» — яркими красными и зелёными  цукатами, внутри грецкие орешки, арахис, кешью. Корочка служит символом золота, сушеные и засахаренные плоды — мирра, а аромат десерта — благовония.

Рождественские традиции в Португалии
A must-buy for Christmas

 It used to be that a dried bean was hidden inside the cake. According to tradition, the person who got the piece with the bean had to pay for the cake the following year.

You can buy bolu Rei at any bakery or supermarket and enjoy the Portuguese dessert on the eve of the holiday.

Как празднуют Рождество в Лиссабоне
Bolu Ray is warm, just out of the bakery

★ The Mass of the Rooster (Missa do Galo)

It gets its name from the legend, which says that it was the rooster who announced the birth of the baby Jesus by his cry. After dinner on December 24, it is customary to attend mass, which is held in cathedrals at midnight. This is one of the long-standing and revered traditions of the celebration. After Mass, families return home and begin exchanging Christmas gifts without waiting until morning.

Как празднуют Рождество Лиссабоне
The Solemn Cathedral

Погода на Рождество в Лиссабоне. 

It's no exaggeration to say that I hate the cold and I didn't expect that when I arrived in Lisbon at the end of December the weather would be so nice - up to +18!

Of course, a year does not have every year, but according to weather forecasters the average temperature in December ranges from +9 to +15ºC.

Рождество в Лиссабоне
You can wait out the rain in a cafe

What clothes should I bring with me?

The climate in December is mild and comfortable for long walks. 

For me, the ideal solution was to take a coat and jacket, as well as two pairs of comfortable shoes. A sweater, a hoodie, and jeans - that's the whole closet for the trip. It wouldn't hurt to bring a raincoat - the weather can be changeable.

Рождество в Лиссабоне
You won't need a lot of things, the main thing is comfort for walking

Conditions for entry into Portugal.

Terms and conditions change, so you can keep track of them at the website of the Ukrainian Consular Service. 

General rules for entering Portugal here.

Have unforgettable travels, everyone! 

Read also: Useful travel apps

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