Boas Saidas … Boas Entradas

The entrance of the New Year (2008) will be welcomed with a spectacular 8km extension of the revellion (fireworks) in Funchal, city of Madeira Islands.

The lady-capital will fire up the sky with all its colors and lights that are now weaved in her evening gala-dress. Each year we have contemplated this event and each time we register new images in our retina and, if possible. on video.

We, from the Blog Thoughts Madeira ( wish everyone a magnificent and safe start of the new year …. that 2008 will be a year full of new challenges and new choices for you.

Missas do Parto (The Childbirth Masses)

From this week-end and until the 24th of December, in almost all parishes of the Diocese of Funchal is the celebrated “Missas do Parto” (Masses of childbirth), a religious heritage that is experienced by the parish communities, through songs and events. Despite a tradition of being secular, the “Childbirth Masses” is still one of the largest demonstrations of popular religion and culture on Madeira.

These celebrations in which the locals meet early in the morning from 16 to December 24, are an important part of the Christmas traditions, that certainly goes back to the first settlers of the island. It is a tradition that comes from far away, and neither cold nor the rain of the morning of winter will stop the faithful of Novenas. Going to the church where you can drink hot coffee with a “cheirinho” or grogue or a copito of brandy with honey, to avert the cold and sleep. In some parishes philharmonic bands through the streets with the castanets, the bombos, “cabrinhas” and acordeons, awakens the one that are still asleep. In older traditions, is the búzio that makes a call at two hours in the morning: everyone knows that voice, who also beats their doors on his way.

During these nine days songs will be sang in the churches that may well have five centuries of existence. Traditionally, in the open space in front of the Church, the local population bedecks the venue with Christmas decorations and offers traditional Yuletide fare to the faithful and the visitors alike.

Video: Xmas Driving

It is getting to be a tradition each year to produce a video of the Christmas scene here on Madeira

Together with my Dutch friend Marcel we went driving up to Funchal. While he was driving I filmed some of the Xmas scenery on the way. I must confess that the film does not represent the true image of what we saw …. which is the thousands and thousands of lights …. everywhere.

I invite anyone who is staying on Madeira to produce similar movie of the Christmas atmosphere and share it with us. Also feel free to put this video on your own website. Continue reading “Video: Xmas Driving”

The Principality of the Pontinha “breaks away” from Portugal

While some political voices on Madeira are ‘whispering’ of the possibilities for an independent Madeira … it seems that a very small part of Madeira itself already is taking steps in that direction …

Principado do Ilhéu da PontinhaPrince D. Renato Barros, sovereign of the Principality of the Pontinha (Portuguese: Principado da Pontinha or Principado do Ilhéu da Pontinha), has formally announced the secession of the Principality from Portugal.

The Fort of Saint José is the headquarters of the Principality of the Pontinha, self-proclaimed country by Prince D. Renato Barros. The Fort of Saint José is located off the coast of the port of Funchal, capital of the Madeira Islands, an autonomous region of Portugal.

The history of the rock begins as early as 1 July 1419, when Portuguese sea captains João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, at the service of Prince Henry the Navigator, land on a rock, and carve steps and a shelter that can still be seen today. The history of the country, on the other hand, begins on 9 October 1903, when the then King D. Carlos I of Portugal, ancestor of D. Renato Barros, first Prince of the Pontinha, signed a Regal Letter (the original is kept in the Tower of London) that stated that the territory of the said Principality of the Pontinha, a rock where the Fort of Saint José is located (the building of the Principality), shall be sovereign.

Currently the case is being analyzed by the international community, including the United Nations. Prince D. Renato Barros expects to obtain the rights of a country, including the 200 nautical miles.

Prince D. Renato Barros states that he has good relations with the Brazilian Government, and if the Principality shall be recognized, it will be the door of entry to Europe.

Source: Micronational Professional Registry