In Trás-os-Montes, in the North of Portugal, in the village of Varge, during Christmas the Caretos celebrate the Festa dos Rapazes, in celebration of the winter solstice. The Caretos are known for being masked men who will, in a safe way, cause chaos in the village where they reside. Between 24 and 26 December, the young people of the village are responsible for maintaining the tradition. To this end, on 24 December, the single boys get together and secretly organise the party plans. Then, on 25 December, after Christmas Mass, the Caretos jump out into the street, at the same time they scream and laugh, while people hear rattles and drums. While the Caretos walk in the street, hay is thrown at the population, as well as water from springs and animals are provoked. It is also customary to do the “cantar das loas”, where jokes are made about events and certain situations of some people residing in the village.
Also, in the North of Portugal, in Guarda, more specifically in Aldeia Viçosa, São Martinho is celebrated for the second time on 26 December. Traditionally, São Martinho is celebrated in November, and it is customary to eat chestnuts and drink Jeropiga. However, in Aldeia Viçosa on 26 December, the population does Magusto da Velha. The tradition goes back to a lady, whose name is unknown, who wanted to leave a lifetime value to the parish council to offer chestnuts and wine to the neediest. In addition, the lady also asked the population to pray an “Our Father” in her honour at Christmas time. On Magusto day, 150 kilos of chestnuts are dumped from the church tower, while the bells ring non-stop. The population collect the chestnuts that fall to be roasted in a large bonfire called Madeiro de Natal. In addition to chestnuts, red wine is distributed to be toasted in honour of the old lady.
O Menino Mija
Travelling outside mainland Portugal, in the Azorean islands there is a tradition, with a peculiar name, called "O Menino Mija" (“The boy urinates”, in English) Between 24 December and 6 January, people visit their family and friends, going from door to door to taste traditional sweets and liqueurs that, as a rule, are already available on the tables. Before entering the houses, it is almost mandatory to ask the owners "does the boy urinate?" (“o menino mija?”). Tradition led to the creation of a liqueur with the same name. The product is sold on various commercial sites or online, however, during the Christmas season, the liquor runs out quite easily, due to the high demand.
Although Christmas is celebrated in different ways, love and a spirit of unity are common in all families, as many find at this time the time to get together after many months, or even years, away.