Christmas In Portugal
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Misa de Gallo | Article about Misa de Gallo by The Free Dictionary
When is Christmas celebrated? This is normally followed by shellfish, wild meats or other expensive foods. After the meal, people go to church for the 'Missa do Galo' or 'Mass of the Rooster' service. During the service an image of baby Jesus is brought out, and everyone queues up to kiss it. After the service people return home and open their presents. Before leaving for the service, parents secretly put the baby Jesus in the nativity scene in their houses and put the gifts under the Christmas Tree, so that Jesus will 'miraculously' be in his manger by the time the family returns home!
Children run to check the nativity scene as soon as they enter the house as no baby Jesus means no presents! Some families have two present opening times with children being allowed to open a few gifts after midnight mass and most of them in the morning. People that don't go to a midnight service will put the gifts under the tree and the family will open the gifts when they wake up.
Christmas Trees are common now, but not everyone had a tree until around the s. Children like to make the nativity scene, fetching moss to make the grass and arranging the figures. Some shops and clubs still make huge nativity scenes with over one hundred figures, waterfalls, windmills that rotate, and lights!
People like to go and see the big scenes. Every house has a rich table set in the living room full with traditional food, cakes, fried cookies, nuts and other goodies!
Turkey is often the main dish now. Traditionally it was goat or lamb in northern Portugal and pork in the south of the country.
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Also, each region traditionally has its own selection of deserts.