Land of strong traditions, December is perhaps the month that combines the most rituals on the island of Madeira. With the arrival of Christmas, the capital of Madeira fulfills the habit of turning on the illuminations, which is a magical event for all the locals, thus starting a whole cycle of customs.
Among them are the ‘Masses of Birth', novenas that are celebrated at dawn, from December 16th, in honour of Our Lady. After the Mass, everyone gets together to socialise, in the churchyard, in a mix of drinks, food and lots of joy.
All over the island there are nativity scenes on display in honour of baby Jesus.
On December 23rd, there is the ‘Night of the Market’ with lots of entertainment, where we can listen to Christmas carols inside the Farmers Market. Outside there are many stalls selling food and drink, which is always accompanied with much animation that lasts until dawn.
The Fireworks display was considered the biggest in the world in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records. It is a magical night in which the capital of Madeira is filled with light. The Funchal Harbour is small to accommodate all the cruise ships that come to watch the firework display.
On the night of 5th to January, the 'Singing of the Kings', is another Madeiran tradition.
Carnival is celebrated all around the island. From the "judgment of the compadres" to the "buriel of the bone", the carnival Corsicans extend all over the region, the allegorical parade being one of the highlights celebrated on Carnival Saturday.
From 12th to 29th June we celebrate the popular saints (St. António, St. João and St. Pedro), another of the traditions of the island.
With the summer come the festivals, celebrated in all the parishes. The festivities begin with the novenas and Mass followed by a procession. After the religious part the festival there is lots of entertainment and conviviality, from regional folklore always accompanied by the “brinquinho" (an artifact whose function is to beat time in the regional folklore dance ‘bailinho’) to the Philharmonic Bands and groups of modern rhythms.
The embroidery of Madeira, the wicker products, the famous Madeiran boots, the ox carts, the plows and the wooden wine presses are part of the regional craftsmanship that has a strong tradition in Madeira.