Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dolly's Christmas Traditions in Portugal

Now you may think I’m a little crazy, talking about Dolly as if she had life intelligence. However before you make judgements about her ask yourself this… Did you ever watch Herbie?... looked like a little Volkswagen Beetle or Kit, the artificial intelligent electronic computer module car; simplified, Kit was the night riders car? Not to offend in any way but Dolly has a way of knowing and what she doesn't know she will find out... Lets just say she's  knowing, caring and sharing. For now until Christmas she is just going to observe all the goings on around her, while she saves herself for the next trip scheduled for the new year.

Take yesterday she heard about the Nativity scene that I posted on Face Book, and decided to find out more about it.  Apparently many towns and villages around Portugal put up Nativity Scenes called Pricepios. Many omit the baby Jesus until after midnight mass on the eve of Christmas. The traditional cake eaten during the holiday period is called Bolo Rei or King Cake, it's like a fruit loaf, only much better, full of dried fruit and nuts...I love it. The Portuguese tend to have the reunion of family on Christmas Eve, known as Consoada, whilst they wait for a Father Christmas (Pai Natel) at midnight and after their meal.The main course for the Consoada is usually boiled Bacalhau (codfish), potatoes, greens or cabbage with olive oil, followed by a large quantity of desserts and Bolo Rei.  The towns and villages decorate the streets with beautiful lights I remember visiting Lisbon several years ago to see the tree, made me think of Trafalgar square in London, and a little home sick at the time.

Okay, so I mentioned the little Nativity scene of Bethlehem Town, but what I didn't tell you was the full story. Apparently it is a tradition in Spain, Portugal and Italy. The model village is home to Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and a Caganer or in English "Shitter," (not my words). The Caganer is traditionally of a man with his pants around his knees, bending over defecating with a pile of feces at his heels. I wasn't looking for him whilst I enjoyed the Nativity scene but now I'm fascinated, does anyone one know what that tradition is about? I'll have to get Dolly to do a bit more searching. Meanwhile don't be shocked if you see a Caganer along side the Nativity...I'd worry if it's a drunk in your back yard.   

Keep an eye on Dolly she's everywhere this week. 


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