Traditionally we expect our presents to be waiting on us Christmas morning, but this is not the case in Portugal. Father Christmas is suppose to leave children presents on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day. When you think about where the presents would be left, we’d say, “Under the tree?” In Portugal they can be left anywhere from under the tree, in shoes, or by the fireplace. Some say Father Christmas brings the presents while others say it’s Baby Jesus.
Portugal goes to church for Missa do Galo or Mass of the Rooster service. This service consists of an image of baby Jesus, and everyone queues up to kiss it. Baby Jesus is suppose to be in a manager under the tree. If there is no sign of baby Jesus, than that means no presents! Children are allowed to open gifts after midnight mass and most in the morning. This is very similar to how we do it here.
Christmas trees are found very common here, but they do something a little different in Portugal. The Nativity Scene is found most common there with a small tree containing the holy family and the animals. The scene on the other hand, contains the holy family, animals, the wise men, shepherds, farmers, folk characters, and more. Children really enjoy making these scenes out of moss for grass, and arranging the figures.--Davanna Gargaro Picture cred: Google images ~ Davanna Gargaro