Carnival in Portugal: 5 Traditional Entrudo Festivity Spots

Carnaval em Portugal.
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With Carnival in Portugal just around the corner, it’s natural to seek suggestions for making the most of these festive days.

The great news is that you can experience a diverse range of carnival celebrations in Portugal.

Take, for example, the traditional entrudo, which has roots in Celtic spring festivals and boasts unique characteristics.

So, this article is filled with recommendations for places to witness the “caretos,” “chocalhadas,” and other names that only those familiar with traditional festivities will recognize.

Therefore, accept my invitation to partake in traditional carnival celebrations in Portugal with these five suggestions: the Entrudo Chocalheiro and the “Caretos” of Podence, the Entrudo of Lazarim, the Traditional Entrudo of the Schist Villages of Góis, the Carnival of the “Caretos” of Bragança, and the Carnival of Vale de Ílhavo.

In other words, the traditional Carnival celebrations, both in the North and in the Center of Portugal, are compelling reasons to plan a memorable getaway of two or three days.

The “Caretos de Podence” and the “Entrudo Chocalheiro”

Caretos de Podence.
Caretos from Podence.
Caretos em Podence, com a Barragem do Azibo no horizonte.
Group of “caretos” in Podence, with the Azibo Dam on the horizon.

Caretos with painted tin masks, colorful costumes, bells around their waists, and partying all day long! It must be tiring to be a careto or facanito in Podence these days, however, the tradition is celebrated and taken very seriously.

In fact, the “Entrudo Chocalheiro” in Podence is considered Portugal’s most genuine Carnival, and its relevance is evidenced by the inclusion of this ancestral folklore on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Dates: February 10th to 13th, 2024.

Location: in Podence, Macedo de Cavaleiros.

Travel Tip: Read the article with all the information you need to know about Carnival in Podence.

O Entrudo de Lazarim (The Lazarim Carnival)

Caretos de Lazarim, Lamego.
Caretos from Lazarim, Lamego.
Grupo de Caretos de Lazarim.
Group of “Caretos” from Lazarim.

In the Lazarim Carnival, the main characters are the “caretos” and “senhorinhas,” who, with wooden masks and costumes made of straw, strips of old clothes, and other recycled materials, bring color to the streets of the quiet village in the municipality of Lamego.

During these days, there is “caldo de farinha” (flour soup) and “feijoada” to fill the stomachs, as well as unusual rituals, such as reading the will and burning the old donkey!

You can only believe the revelry by seeing it live! Or else, check out the video on our YouTube channel!

Dates: February 10th to 13th, 2024.

Location: in Lazarim, Lamego.

Travel Tip: Read the article with all the information you need to know about Carnival in Lazarim.

Entrudo Tradicional Aldeias do Xisto de Góis (Traditional Carnival of the Schist Villages of Góis)

Entrudo Tradicional das Aldeias de Xisto de Góis (Centro de Portugal).
Traditional Carnival of the Schist Villages of Góis (Center of Portugal).

In the Serra da Lousã, Carnival celebrations mean that everyone has to make their own mask, but you won’t believe what they’re made of!

Cork, my friends, the masks of the “Caretos” from Góis are made of cork! And the result is SPECTACULAR!

It’s one of those traditions you won’t find anywhere else in the world!

The Carnival race of the Schist Villages starts in Aigra Nova, then goes to Pena, Cerdeira, and Ponte do Sótão before returning to Aigra Nova.

So, you have several opportunities to see the “Caretos” of Góis.

In the end, there’s dancing, stick fighting, and the burning of the Carnival. You can also learn how to make cork masks.

The lunch gathering costs €10, and to make your reservation, you can call 969847852 or 235 778 644.

Dates: February 11th, at 8:30 AM.

Location: Aigra Nova, Góis.

Carnaval dos Caretos (Carnival of the “Caretos” in Bragança)

Caretos de Baçal, Bragança.
Caretos from Baçal, Bragança.
Caretos de Arcas, Bragança.
Caretos from Arcas, Bragança.

The “Caretos” will roam the streets of Bragança.

The highlight of these Carnival celebrations is the parade on Carnival Saturday, followed by the Burning of the Devil, which takes place in the square of Bragança Castle.

Take the opportunity to enjoy the culinary delights of the region at the Gastronomic Week of “Butelo” and “Casulas” from Bragança, between February 2nd and 13th, 2024.

Dates: Parade on February 10th, 2024.

Location: Bragança.

Carnaval de Vale de Ílhavo (Carnival of Vale de Ílhavo)

Carnaval de Vale de Ílhavo.
Carnival in Vale de Ílhavo.
Cardadores de Vale de Ílhavo.
Cardadores from Vale de Ílhavo.

The revelers (cardadores) of Vale de Ílhavo are mischievous, but as they say, during Carnival no one takes offense!

The tradition is upheld by the Cultural and Recreational Association “Os Baldas,” and like the carnival celebrations mentioned before, these events endure mainly thanks to the perseverance of those who refuse to let unique local rituals die.

These figures are men wearing masks made of white sheepskin and colorful women’s underwear! Their stockings reach up to their knees, and they attach bells to their waists to make noise.

They move noisily through the crowds, aiming to startle the unwary!

Dates: February 11 and 13, 2024.

Location: Vale de Ílhavo.

Everything you need to know about Carnival in Portugal

Caretos de Arcas, Macedo de Cavaleiros.
Caretos from Arcas, Macedo de Cavaleiros.
Caretos de Arcas, Bragança.
Caretos from Arcas, Macedo de Cavaleiros.

When is Carnival in Portugal?

In 2024, Carnival will be celebrated on February 13th.

What are the most well-known carnivals in Portugal?

Entrudo Tradicional das Aldeias de Xisto de Góis.
Traditional Carnival of the Schist Villages of Góis.

In addition to the traditional carnival celebrations I mentioned, there are other carnivals for every taste, all across the country.

So, if you enjoy the rhythm of samba, Carnival in Ovar, Figueira da Foz, Alcobaça, Loulé, and Funchal are the ones for you.

On the other hand, in Torre Vedras, it’s the “matrafonas” and “cabeçudos” that bring excitement to the festivities.

Moreover, some say that the Madeira Carnival influenced the famous Brazilian carnival, as emigrants from the Portuguese island took this tradition with them.

Other well-known carnivals in Portugal include those in Estarreja, Nazaré, Loures, Torres Vedras, Canas de Senhorim, Sines, and Sesimbra.

*This is an ongoing article. We will add information as we learn about other traditional carnivals in Portugal. So, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

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