It’s hard not to recognize the beauty of every culture and nationality, especially when it comes to the local holidays and celebrations! Today, I had the honour to interview my dear ESN buddy, Francisca Morais, regarding the Portuguese Easter traditions and more.
This interview was held exclusively online, in written format, due to the global pandemic situation, the harsh restrictions, and the bad Internet connection.
I have always adored discovering new traditions, special dishes and manners. I am an Orthodox Christian, so our Easter is actually in May this year, but I insisted on also following the celebration of Easter here, attending the special night ceremony and bringing my candle to get the Holy Light.
I honestly was very emotional and impressed by the beauty of this ceremony, the togetherness of the community, the calm organisation of the event. Of course, I have also bought some Easter chocolate goodies, just like everyone at the local supermarket.
Let’s meet Francisca!
Francisca is a beautiful, smart, ambitious and sociable 20-year-old student from Covilhã, Portugal. She is studying Medicine at Universidade da Beira Interior.
So, let’s see what Francisca shared with us about the Portuguese Easter traditions!
1. Do you use to follow Easter traditions in your country every year?
A: Yes, I’ve done these traditions since I can remember, my family held onto them throughout maybe generations.
2. How would you describe the Portuguese Easter traditions in a few words?
A: Portuguese traditions have a religious and a social part and, in my opinion, those parts are equally important, whether to keep the faith, whether to reunite the family all over again.
3. What Easter Portuguese traditions do you usually follow? Describe in detail some of them, please.
A: On “Domingo de Ramos”, which is the Sunday before Easter, I usually offer a small gift to my godparents, like a box of chocolates or sweets, and on the Easter Day, my godparents give me a small gift too, for example a pack of sweet almonds (which is the tradition) and a small bill. I also reunite with my family to have lunch and we say some prayers before we start our meal.
4. What are some Easter foods that you always have on your table?
A: We always have “folar”, “pão de ló”, sweet almonds and roasted lamb, which are the most traditional foods.
5. Which one is your favourite and why?
A: I love pão de ló because I’m a person that is more into sweets and pão de ló is like a very soft and fluffy cake, which is pleasant to eat.
6. Do you feel that the Easter became a more commercial holiday because of globalization? (e.g. the Easter bunny)
A: Yes, I totally agree that Easter became a more commercial holiday. However, I don’t think that’s a negative thing, because the fact that the Easter bunny exists, makes kids embrace Easter and it also makes them want to follow the traditions a few years later.
7. If yes, how does that affect your local Portuguese traditions?
A: I think that where Easter bunny affects our traditions the most is when it comes to the chocolate bunnies that are being put as a tradition, just like the chocolate Santa.
8. Do you intend to continue following and respecting these holiday traditions when you will have your own family? Why?
A: Yes, I totally plan on following and respecting these traditions. I think that by now, they are already part of me and they remind me of my family, so I definitely want to keep them because they make me happy by remembering the great times I had on Easter Day.
9. How important do you think that traditions are for creating a family bond?
A: I think they are very important. As I have said before, I always reunite with my family, except for this year and the previous one because of COVID-19, and I can say I miss celebrating the Easter Day. These days, people are more sensitive to the family relationships and bonding, so it’s a great time to reconnect.
10. Do you believe that Portugal is a traditional country? Why?
A: Yes, I think Portugal is a traditional country because these traditions already existed when my parents were kids, and they still prevail after all this time, which means Portuguese people enjoy these traditions and are willing to keep them throughout the times.
Thank you very much for your time, Francisca!
In conclusion, it was an extraordinary experience to find out more about the Portuguese Easter traditions, especially from Francisca who opened up to me so sincerely.
I truly love that Portugal is such a traditional country and keeps important values such as: family, unity, respect and kindness, fact that reminds me tremendously of my home country, Romania. Even though we, of course, have different traditions and foods, we actually have so much in common: the love for family, the respect for elders, the passion for good food and so on.