Friday, May 6, 2016

Portugal 2016
Madeira - Christmas and New Year Festivities

ISSUE DATE: 7 April 2016
STAMP THEME: Extreme Sports 3
STAMP SIZE:40 x 30.6 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Design&etc

Madeira Islands holds a particular charm during Christmas time, a festivity celebrated with joy, colour and a great deal of enthusiasm, an homage to the customs and traditions that very much honours the culture and heritage of its people. With this philatelic collection, the CTT Correios de Portugal aims to portray the cultural and touristic traditions of Christmas in the Madeira, a celebration that is lived passionately by its locals. 

This occasion combines the typical religious traditions of this season with the merriment of the arrival of a new year, along with a rich cultural programme filled with ethnographic and artistic events. These festivities begin on 1st December, date that sets the official beginning of the Christmas illuminations in downtown Funchal. The Madeiran capital becomes a life-size Nativity scene, making the most of its natural amphitheatre setting, filled with floral decorations and multi-coloured lights.

The main streets of Funchal display authentic living tableaus of regional traditions that, along with concerts, performances by folk groups, philharmonic bands and other musical ensembles, delight the residents and the thousands of tourists who visit the island on this occasion.

Another typical ritual of this season are the traditional “Childbirth Masses”, a religious ceremony that starts on 16th December, gathering many faithful who, at the end of the celebration, socialise in the churchyards with popular carols, sharing food and drink, in a real atmosphere of festive communion.

On 23rd December takes place the iconic and traditional “Night at the Market”, a ritual that joins hundreds of locals and tourists alike to the streets of the Mercado dos Lavradores, an opportunity to purchase the necessary ingredients for the preparation of “Christmas Supper” , an event that marks one of the longest and liveliest nights in the island.

After Christmas, festivities continue, culminating on the 31st December with the firework display, recognized in 2006, by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest firework display in the world.

These are all excellent reasons to engage in the emotions of this festive period in Madeira. Visit Madeira and enjoy a unique experience, once a year or once in a lifetime!

author: Eduardo Jesus
Regional Secretary of Economy, Tourism and Culture 

Stamp images thanks to CTT Correios de Portugal

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