Semana Santa is an important week for Catholics in Portugal. In many cities there are Easter processions, you can also find a couple in Lisbon.
Vooral in het noorden van Portugal, met name in Braga, wordt Pasen groots gevierd.
In the north of Portugal, especially in Braga, Easter is celebrated in a big way.
Easter in Óbidos
Closer to Lisbon, in Óbidos, the residents attend ‘the funeral of Jesus’ on Good Friday. This scene is re-enacted with a Jesus figure who is carried through the streets, with mourning music in the background.
At exactly 09:30 p.m. all street lights are extinguished. People come up the streets with torches and the procession begins. First come the Romans, then men in black capes, and finally girls with angel wings.
It’s very impressive to experience this first hand.
Traditional food during Easter
Where lots of people have a tradition of enjoying an Easter brunch on Easter day, the Portuguese start their Easter festivities on Good Friday.
Often Bacalhau (Codfish) is cooked on Good Friday. As in most Catholic countries, traditional recipes are prepared on Good Friday, and what is more traditional in Portugal than Bacalhau?
On Easter Sunday, lamb is often eaten (stewed) and Folar – a traditional Easter bread – is baked.
Folar – Portuguese Easter bread
Folar is a traditional Easter bread with an egg in the middle. According to the legend Folar was eaten at the last supper of Jesus.
The composition depends on the region where you buy the Folar. Especially in the south of Portugal it is a sweet type of bread made from cinnamon, melted butter and caramel.
In Lisbon and surroundings I have only been able to find the savory version so far.
Do you want sweets during Easter? Traditional Easter chocolates are not easy to find and often very pricey.
What can be found in abundance in the supermarket are the Amêndoa Tipo Francês: almonds with an (often colored) sugar layer.
They can be filled with a whole almond, but you also have them with only chocolate inside. The brand Vieira makes our favorites!
Please note that many shops and museums are closed on Good Friday and Easter.