Madeira December Events

Christmas season has arrived; enjoy a warm Christmas or New Years in Madeira Island come see for your self how wonderful it is to be here at this time of year.

Christmas Lights – 1st December - 9th January
December 8th is the official day of the switching on the Christmas lights (that stay on until mid January), followed by great celebrations, cultural events, concerts and exhibitions happening all over town all the way through Christmas. Madeira Island is truly magical and unforgettable at this time of year.

Christmas Celebrations – 16th - 24th December
Through out the month of December religious mass celebrations take place in most churches on the Island. Missa do parto “Childbirth Mass” is one of the most principal devotions of the Madeiran Christmas tradition; it’s the celebration of the nine months of pregnancy of the Virgin Mary, beginning for that very reason nine days before Christmas early 6am 16th December and ending about sunrise 24th December accompanied by old traditional songs.

Market Night – 23rd December
The Market Night Party is a traditional celebration lasting all night long. The famous Funchal market (Mercado dos Lavradores) and surrounding streets are crowded with joyful people creating a real festive spirit, singing Christmas carols, dancing, drinking (responsibly) and having fun.  All bars in the area are opened all night, serving traditional drinks and the special delicious sandwich "carne vinho alhos" meat with wine and garlic, which is traditionally served during Christmas. During the day surrounding the market, there is a quite remarkable display of regional fruit and vegetable shops, where you can do your last minute shopping.

Christmas Midnight Mass (Missa do Galo) – 24th December
Missa do Galo "Rooster's Mass" is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, a traditional midnight mass celebrated in every Church in the island. The Midnight mass at Funchal’s Sé Cathedral is specially celebrated by the Bishop of Funchal and which is also televised. The church fills up quickly just make sure to get there early so you get a good seat up front

São Silvestre Race – 28th December
São Silvestre Race is a traditional long-distance race round the city of Funchal held annually 28th December.  The Race of São Silvestre is one of the oldest races in Portugal and Europe, organised by the Association of Athletics of the Autonomous Region of the Madeira in which thousands of athletes of all ages participate.

Grand Firework Display – 31st December
Besides all the great celebrations through out the month of December the best part of it all is getting ready for the New Year.
 New Years Eve is celebrated all over the Island and the most spectacular event is at midnight in Funchal Centre.  Once the clock strikes 12 the sky marvellously lit up, an unforgettable non-stop Fireworks display lights up all of Madeira Island. 
 The grand finale is just amazing and you just have to be here to believe it.

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