Funchal is lit up to the hilt, as is usual this time of year, and I walk around town mumbling childish expletives such as wow, ohhh, ah, yeah.
|All the streets in Funchal have Christmas illuminations|
|even the quiet back streets|
|over a quarter million bulbs are used. Roughly a bulb|
per head of population
Tomorrow, the 23rd of December, tradition dictates we all go to Funchal Market after midnight for last minute shopping. Its not so much shopping as making merry, eating and drinking until the early hours. Fruit sellers have their goods displayed in the streets surrounding the market and the snack and alcohol selling kiosks fill up every other available slot. There will also be folklore dancing and music to enhance the festive mood.
Snacks such as pork vinho d'alho, which incidentally gave origin of the Indian dish vindaloo, is a hot favourite, no pun intended.
(Back in the 15th century our explorer Vasco Da Gama found the sea route to India and started the spice trade. He also introduced the 'vinho d'alho' Portuguese method of marinading meat. It was later adopted by the Indians and the vindaloo dish was created! )
I remember as a child being so excited at staying up late enough to go to the market on the 23rd and then falling asleep in the car before even getting there. Great fun and very fond memories.
Christmas is a colourful but quiet time in Funchal compared to the New Year celebrations. Madeira hosts the second largest fireworks display in the world on the midnight hour of the 31st Of December. It is a spectacle that lasts around 20 minutes and totally lights up the whole bay of Funchal.
But that's for another post.
Merry Christmas all!