The preparations for the Christmas and end-of-year celebrations are in full progress at this moment. The official opening of the New Year’s Eve Festivities in Madeira will take place on the 27th of November (Friday). If you do not want to miss this then you need to be in the area of Avenida Arriaga (Funchal) and watch the switching on of the Christmas illuminations.
From this day on, the main streets in the center of Funchal will be invaded by lights of all sizes and colors to produce designs that are very representative of the island’s characteristic and the time of year. One week later, on 4th of December, the outskirts of Funchal will also be lit up transforming Funchal into a real, life-size “nativity scene”.
In early December, the squares are decked with flowers. Poinsettias, holly and lady’s slipper orchids all help to brighten up the city’s streets. And then there are the Christmas carols ringing out in all the streets as if by magic inspiring everyone with the festive spirit. The streets fill with people in this atmosphere of great joy. Some are here to do their Christmas shopping, while others just want to enjoy the holiday buzz and atmosphere emanating throughout the city
With the center of the city lit up for Christmas, as then begins Festa (Festivities), the term used by the people of Madeira to call the celebration period of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The Festa is lived intensively by the people of Madeira right up to 6th January.
The official program includes exhibitions, concerts, and many more. The following are the most important dates:
- 27th November – opening of the Christmas illuminations in the centre of Funchal
- 04th December – general illumination of the entire amphitheatre of Funchal
- 11th December – beginning of the Christmas exhibitions on Avenida Arriaga and other central locations of the city
- 23rd December – Market Night
- 28th December – St. Sylvester Race
- 31st December – New Year’s Eve Firework Display
- 6th January, 2009 – Twelfth Night Festival and End of the Madeira Festivities