30 Oct #cityjobbers living in Lisbon: It ‘s time to Pão por Deus!
Did you know about this portuguese tradition?
Living in Portugal you will enjoy “Pão por Deus”, a century-old tradition in All-Saints day, in the morning just after Halloween. Let’s get to know a lovely tradition based on generosity and gratitude.
Experience the real Lisbon: Pão por Deus
This ritual harks back to the terrible earthquake of 1 November 1755 that destroyed Lisbon. On that day, people went out and knocked on the doors of those who were more fortunate, to curb their hunger. The ritual began in Lisbon, but it eventually spread across the country and was preserved over the years, especially outside of big cities, with some changes. Originally, those “begging” were the poorest and bread was mainly given to them in God’s name. However, over time, the practice became exclusive to children who, instead of bread, now receive chestnuts, seasonal fruits, cakes or biscuits.
So we are also talking about a celebration with children knocking door to door. They ask for “Pão por Deus“. Although this tradition has some similarities to Halloween, major differences are that children only go on the morning of November 1st and do not use costumes. They visit neighbours’ houses in groups with patchwork handmade bags singing different verses depending on the region of Portugal.
In places such as Porto, Lisbon or Algarve, where there is a growing expat community (there are a lot of #cityjobbers working in Portugal, if you are interested browse our latest jobs in Lisbon ), shops everywhere are filled with Halloween costumes and pumpkin decorations.
Halloween in Portugal
But do you think these two celebrations – the Celtic/American and the Portuguese/catholic – are really so different? Both take place at the same time of year. Both seek to celebrate and remember our departed ones. With time, Bread for God came to replace the commemorations of the Day of the Dead (November 2nd), making the 1st of November the perfect day for remembering those loved ones that are no longer among us. Thus, the All Saints Day gradually became the Portuguese Day of the Dead with Pão-por-Deus” as the preferred tradition.
Nowadays, this Portuguese tradition is slowly being mixed with, and sometimes replaced by, Halloween, a much more “global” tradition. Pão por Deus survives better in the outskirts of Lisbon, and you can still find groups of children going from door to door on 1st November in rural areas.
Where to get the best Pão por Deus in town
If you are working in Lisbon, enjoy that tomorrow you have the day off-work (November 1 is a national holiday in Portugal) so make sure you relax and walk around the city for sweets and treats of the day at your local bakery. We recommend A Padaria Portuguesa for delicious hand-made food like dried fruits-bread with jam and honey, sweet potato scones, carrot cakes and Pão-por-Deus, of course!
If you like the idea of getting closer to Portuguese culture, apply for a relocation Job in Lisbon. Work in your native language and learn Portuguese. Discover this and other fascinating traditions abroad. Our #cityjobbers living in Lisbon have no end of stories about Portugal culture to share with you.
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