Magic is perhaps the adjective that best defines New Year’s eve in Madeira. As if the uniqueness of the fireworks on display in the first minutes of the year wasn’t enough, there is a whole series of events that combine to make these the best Christmas season in the world.
With the month of December, comes the excitement of Christmas and the end of year. In Funchal’s downtown, the lighting of the Christmas illuminations announces the beginning of the festivities with an extensive program of cultural, religious and artistic events.
Nativity scenes are displayed in traditional houses, in local churches and even in the streets of the capital and surrounding areas. At the Farmers Market, there are many fruits and flowers typically associated with the season, such as the “Sapatinhos” orchids, that one can see on all tables in Madeira.
The festivities only end with the New Year’s fireworks show, officially recognized by the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 as the biggest in the world. This is when the night in Madeira's capital is glowing with bright lights, champagne and joy and when cruise ships jostle around the port to watch the show.
Before the end of the year, however, there are many festivals and events that shouldn’t be missed. Among them, the 'Childbirth Masses' - masses that are celebrated at dawn for 9 consecutive days starting on December 16th -, Market Night on December 23, the 'Tour of Funchal' race, and the 'Singing Kings' on the night of 5 to 6 January.