11/29/08

JC,THIS ONE IS FOR YOU!

(This post is a reply to JC’s challenge. He wanted to learn about bloggers’ celebration of Christmas.) For me this season has always been more about getting the family together or meeting old friends than celebrating the birth of Christ. When I was a child my mother adored to make the Christmas’s tree with me. I think she loved it more than me!! At that time it was a true pine not a plastic one. It had a wonderful scent that spread in the room! My father picked it somewhere in the near mountain as the city where we lived up in the north(Braga) was surrounded by mountains. (Now I have small plastic tree with ornaments attached. I like it very much. It’s instant Xtmas, I know. But it’s so cute! ) She wrapped the vase with colorful paper and then we placed the ornaments with lots of care because the balls were made of glass and painted inside. I also hanged received Christmas cards in the tree one after the other! After presents being opened my mother always took a photo of me, the present I got and the tree. This was a repeated ritual every year. The tree tradition only generalized in Portugal from 1950’s on. I remember my mother saying that when she was a child she had already a tree decorated with small balls of cotton and a star made of silver paper kept from a chocolate bar eaten during the year. She was raised in a rural area where only some more wealthy families did a nativity scene. That was kind of expensive. We never did a crib together but when I was a grown girl she bought the basic half a dozen statuettes. The crib she made at her house was then displayed all year long and not only in Christmas season. In Portugal there was a strong crib tradition and the ones sculpted by artist Machado de Castro are world famous: I also remember popular nativity scenes displayed in churches with hundreds of clay small figures painted with vivid colors and real moss. Some even had motion. Decorated streets in the city are still in fashion and my favorite lights are the ones placed plainly in trees.
City of Braga at nightSending Christmas cards was a must do for me. I stopped doing that now, I send emails. Every year I used to spend an afternoon buying and writing postcards. Sometimes I painted some. I still keep all Christmas cards received. We also have traditional portuguese Christmas songs and typical season dishes and sweets. My grandmother made cakes in a very hot oven. They were orange inside from the pumpkin and full of dried fruits, pine-nuts, walnuts and raisins. But in the north, where we lived back then, the traditional thing to eat was Aletria - a dessert made with paste like spaghetti but thinner, eggs, milk, cinnamon, lemon and fruits- or Rabanadas made with bread like baguette cut slices that are first poured in a hot sauce made or water, sugar, lemon, cinnamon,wine and then passed for egg and fried. When I was a child I do not remember eating the cake that it’s called Bolo-Rei: It is decorated with crystallized colored fruits and sugar. It’s extremely popular today. Inside it has got a hidden bean. If you pick the slice with the bean you must buy the cake next Christmas! On 24th, Christmas’s eve, dinner is in many houses done of cod, and boiled potato and cabbage with oil and garlic at taste. It was also traditional to attend midnight mass- Missa do Galo- but today this tradition is to disappear. We had for habit to leave one of our shoes in the base of the Christmas tree. We all placed the gifts there and they were opened at breakfast. On 25th we usually got the family around the table and had lunch and stayed at home chatting and eating and eating and chatting…and showing off our presents! Today we do as much...

...and if the weather was fine my father would take us for a ride on 25th and my mother would take another photo! Now, what about this car?!Imagine!I miss this car JC!

1 comment:

John C said...

I apologize, when I first read this right after it was posted I lost my really weak signal to the internet.

You've been included in the running with Fracas a while. lol

The decision for the winner is going to be announced later than usual, since I chose to have another blogger make the decision out of fairness to everyone.

Good luck, and a wonderful entry, Belinha!

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