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On Madeira, Christmas begins with the Childbirth Masses, a religious tradition occurring on all of the island's parishes nine days before Christmas. Each day represents one month of the Virgin Mary's pregnancy.

The masses are held every day between 5:00 and 7:00 AM, during the transition from night to day, to symbolize the Baby Jesus as the light of the world.

Despite the early hour, these childbirth masses are very popular. These are high masses, at the end of which the churchyards become places of sharing. There is coffee and hot chocolate, traditional Madeira “poncha” and liqueurs, along with various delicacies of the Christmas season.

There is also musical entertainment . .. groups gather to sing traditional songs of this special time of year!

one of Madeira's biggest religious traditions!

Reserving accommodation on these dates does not guarantee a place on the programme activities.

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