HAPPY HALLOWEEN (O DIA DAS BRUXAS)
Halloween is not widely celebrated in Portugal and will never have as strong a tradition as the U.S.A or U.K, however Halloween has actually always existed here in some form or another. Cities such as Porto and Lisbon will celebrate by holding Halloween parties (pre Covid) and you may even get a few trick-or-treaters knocking at your door. In some parts of Portugal, it’s common for children to go door-to-door (especially their relatives’ doors) asking for bread, Pão-por-Deus (Bread for God’s sake). This tradition is celebrated in the morning of 1st November which is All Saints’ Day.
Pumpkin carving, is a tradition in certain parts of Portugal like Beira in Northern Portugal. Pumpkins in this part of Portugal are known as coca or coco, and are named after the mythical monster with the same name. Cideos is home to the Festa da Cabra festival which parades traditional dancing and displays different characters in fancy dress. In Montalegre, special performances are held on Halloween and every Friday the thirteenth of the year. Many stores in my nearest town have Halloween costumes for sell and some of the windows have epic Halloween displays with ghosts, pumpkins, spiders and cobwebs. Some of my friends here celebrate Samhain (a term of Gaelic origin that means “end of summer”) a Pagan celebration which marks the end of the harvest and beginning of winter and the new Celtic year.
On the way back from a recent trip to Buçaco Forest we drove past a huge house in a little village which had hundreds of pumpkins displayed in it’s front garden. It was so epic that I made hubby turn the car around and drive back so I could take photos and a video. Unfortunately my phone had run out of battery so I had to use hubby’s. When we got home I found 3 seconds of video and 30 seconds footage of my leg (ha ha). I would have loved to go back at Halloween for a visit but due to Covid we have certain restrictions in place which means we can’t leave our municipality of Arganil from Friday-Tuesday (5 days). Oh well, maybe next year! We can still roast some chestnuts on our fire and have fun apple bobbing if we have the energy.
Although Portugal has all of these different Halloween traditions, you could still be forgiven for thinking that Halloween isn’t celebrated here as these traditions are regional based and those regions are so spread out so you will only find scattered celebrations throughout Portugal. Public holidays here follow the Catholic calender so Halloween will always be overshadowed by the religious and historical significance of All Saints’ Day that takes precedence on the 1st November.
This is hubby’s attempt at a Halloween costume.