Easter in Portugal has many traditions, a lot of which are based around food and spending time with family.
This time we’re sharing what we eat at this time of the year.
Folar da Páscoa
A traditionally a sweet bread, most commonly flavored with fennel, and with boiled eggs secreted inside. The bread is supposed to represent the bread at the Last Supper and the eggs inside are meant to represent rebirth and the resurrection of Jesus.
There is a legend behind the bread to. It says that there was a young girl Mariana who wanted to get married young so she prayed to Santa Catarina for a husband, however, two came into her life – both handsome, but one rich and one poor. So again Mariana prayed to Santa Catarina asking which she should choose, and while she was doing so the poor man came to her door asking her to make a decision by Palm Sunday, and the rich man later did the same.
On Palm Sunday she was told that they were going to fight to the death over her, and when seeking Santa Catarina’s help with the situation she called out the poor man’s name. The day before Easter Sunday she was told that the rich man was to kill her future husband – the poor man – and again she sought for help from Santa Catarina. The next day Mariana found a sweet bread with eggs on her table, later discovering both the poor man and the rich man found the same on their table, hence Mariana believed they were from Santa Catarina. From this day, the sweet bread became a symbol of reconciliation and friendship that is eaten around Easter.
Good Friday: No meat!
On Good Friday, because the Catholic tradition doesn’t allow people to eat meat, we usually go for bacalhau (cod) – the most famous fish around here!
Fun fact: there is 365 different recipes for every day of the year.
Main food: Roasted meat
On Easter Sunday the most common meat that people eat in Portugal is roast lamb or roast cabrito (baby goat). The Portuguese say that these animals are supposed to represent Jesus, as he is the ‘Lamb’ of God. Both are made the same way: marinated with white wine and spices, and then roasted in the oven.
Lots of chocolate!
Easter is another time to eat sweets! The most typical are chocolate eggs, but different colored sugar coated almonds are also enjoyed throughout the Easter holidays.
What are you doing this Easter?
If you’re spending it in Lisbon, join our tours to find out more about our culture!