Easter, in Portugal, has always been a great deal. Well, at least as far I can remember it.

It’s a season of family, of gathering. Not only the children look forward to it, but also the adults. Even though many of us are not very religious, Easter means family time, holidays, travelling to the village we grew up in, catching up with grandparents, old neighbors, you name it… It really is a time to go back to our roots.

So, let’s see some Easter traditions of a typical Portuguese family:

1. The beginning of the holly week starts the Sunday before.

It is Palm Sunday, when godchildren offer their godparents flowers (usually an olive tree branch, as a sign of hope) and expect a small gift in return the next Sunday, Easter day. On this day, families make a cross to put on the front door, with a purple detail that is changed to a white one on Easter Sunday.

easter bunny handmade

2. One of the most important and oldest Easter traditions is the priest retinue.

Nowadays, in some villages, the priest still comes to the house, with his retinue, to bless the families. The whole retinue is invited in to have brunch, which usually includes typical cakes, such as sponge cake, and wine. Of course, the flower carpet at the entrance of the house tells the priest that the family is expecting them and they’re welcome.

3. The gastronomy!

Roasted lamb served with rice and roasted potatoes is the season’s delicacy and everyone’s looking forward to it. This is not a dish that we serve much during the year. And off course candy almonds are scattered all around the house.

4. Still on the gastronomy matter (all Portuguese traditions begin and end at the table).

Easter bread is a symbol of friendship and reconciliation. It is similar to a sponge sweet cake but with boiled eggs inside of it, usually three. This is, the tradition says, the trade-off godparents give to their godchildren on Easter after receiving flowers on Palm Sunday.

5. Egg hunt. There is no Easter without a fun egg hunt.

That is certainly the kids’ most anticipated event of the day, when the chocolate eggs are hidden inside the house or in the garden… The kids’ and grownups’! Everyone has fun in this moment.

liitle girl with eggs

It was different for most families, this year, that’s for sure. Mine included, as my siblings and I could not travel to our farm and stay all together with our kids in the same house, for a few days. Nevertheless, we need to take what we can get and try to keep the traditions alive for us, adults, and so that the children will remember them.

So, even if we were in the apartment the entire Easter weekend, we’ve managed to cook the traditional lamb and, let me tell you that the egg hunt was a success, even inside.

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