Celebrating Easter in Portugal

We continue our week of looking at Easter celebrations across the world with the traditional celebrations that take place in Portugal. Portugal has a large Christian population that celebrate Easter differently to the rest of the country. Here are some of the events and traditions that take place throughout the Easter week in Portugal.


Portugal recognises Good Friday, the most important day in the Holy Week, as a national holiday. Some Christians also recommend that people fast as a symbol of Jesus’ suffering on the cross. This would involve giving up meat and replacing it with fish instead, in particular codfish.

Easter Sunday is a huge day in Portugal, with all sorts of traditions taking place. The local parish priest visits homes to wish a Happy Easter, whilst he also brings a figure of Christ with him which can be kissed by each member of the household to celebrate his resurrection.

There are plenty of pagan traditions still present in Portugal, from Easter Eggs to the Easter bunny. Like many other countries, chocolate eggs are shared out at Easter as gifts, whilst roast lamb is traditionally eaten in Portugal at lunchtime on the Sunday.

If you’re interested in sending a gift to Portugal, make sure you check our list of prohibited items to Portugal so that you know your gift will make it to the addressee without being intercepted by customs.

Spooky Places in Portugal

Portugal isn’t a country that most of us would link with creepy characters and spine-chilling stories, but it has its own fair share of haunted places. If you have friends and family living in Portugal, it might be a good idea to send them a package filled with survival gear to fight off all the ghosts and ghouls lurking in the shadows…

Firstly, a bit of a royal haunting. The Beau-Séjour Palace, whose gardens are open to the public, is supposedly haunted by the Baron of Glória who was around in the 1800s. It has been said that the sound of bells ringing can sometimes be heard by visitors to the site, while employees based in the palace have experienced windows opening and being slammed shut and objects moving around and vanishing.

The next time you go to Portugal, be sure not to stay in room 108 of the Bela Vista Hotel in Portimao. The previous owner was said to have died in this room, and her ghost is thought to be the cause of the unexplained banging and wailing heard by guests in neighbouring rooms at night, suggesting her spirit may live on in her beloved hotel.