This year “Páscoa” (Easter in Portugal) will be celebrated in the same spirit that it has been celebrated for centuries but with a different twist. Coronavirus is no match for the Portuguese traditions that remind us that we are family who will always have a seat at our table
This year, Portugal will be experiencing Easter a little differently from the tradition we have celebrated for centuries. The "stay home" order may confine us to our homes, but the COVID-19 pandemic will not keep our families apart, at least in spirit.
At this Easter time, we have so many blessings, including a Portuguese Government that has acted decisively to keep our communities safe from the COVID-19 virus. Our extended families may not be able to sit with us at the same table but are with us in spirit. The Portuguese, as always, remain optimistic and grateful for the blessings that Easter brings. Easter is not only a celebration of our faith, but a time to celebrate the warm embrace of our extended family including grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, and friends, a time of love, laughter, and food, wonderful food.
From north to south, ancient Portuguese traditions will be celebrated, with recipes passed down from generation to generation and cooked with pride to be shared with love.
There will be lots of chatter, younger families will call their mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and cousins to ask for that special secret recipe that has been in the family for generations. For those of you who don’t want to spend time in the kitchen, you may order traditionally prepared food from a restaurant nearby. The home-made goodness will still be in the taste and you’ll be supporting local businesses in this time when solidarity goes such a long way!
Regardless of your plans for this weekend, at a time when unity and love are much-needed, let's take advantage of these days to sweeten our hope and savour the many delights of Portuguese Easter traditions.
One of the Portuguese people's favourite dishes in this festive season is roast lamb, accompanied by baked potatoes and local seasonal vegetables. A warm and savoury dish, which is seasoned the day before with aromatic herbs and accompanied by a delicious glass of red wine and typical Portuguese wheat bread. In some villages of Portugal, the heat of the wood oven is used to bake the bread and then the lamb is added in a clay pot where there is no shortage of bay leaves and a generous amount of Portuguese olive oil.
Keeping true to the country’s Catholic tradition, before placing the dough in the oven it is blessed with the sign of the cross, and in a low voice, the words that have been passed down from their ancestors serve as a prayer for the bread to grow and thanks to God for the gift of this nourishment.
For dessert, another age-old tradition is the "Folar", decorated with one or more boiled eggs in the middle (still in their shells). In many regions of Portugal this sweet bread is offered as a gift by the godparents to their godchildren and it is readily available in village bakeries or supermarkets during "Páscoa".
Search on the internet, you will find several "folar" recipes that you can try, inviting this Portuguese tradition into your home! Recipes that will fill your home the aroma of cinnamon, fennel, and lemon in the air.
Another Portuguese favourite is almonds coated in sugar or chocolate and roasted almonds with sugar and cinnamon. The little ones love receiving Easter sweets, especially chocolate eggs and bunnies wrapped in brightly coloured tin-foil, many with a surprise toy inside.
If you don't want to leave home during the COVID-19 lockdown to buy these treats, there are plenty of local village grocers offering home delivery. Check which stores are delivering near you and surprise your family, relatives or maybe even a friend or neighbour in your village! The world needs a bit more sweetness right now.
Enjoying the company of your relatives, friends and neighbours may have to be postponed for now, but be sure to spend this Easter surrounded by the people you love, even if it’s through the telephone or the Internet. Soon, we will be together again complaining about all the delicious things we couldn’t resist this Easter!
From our family at Portugal Realty to yours, have a safe and joyful Easter surrounded by the things that truly matter, the simple things...
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