Carnival - February


Traditionally there are two Carnival parades in Madeira, which are very different from each other. The most important one, the allegoric parade, which takes place always on the Saturday of the Carnival weekend, is the more sophisticated one and needs a great deal of commitment and organisation from all the groups and the people involved. Numerous Samba groups with thousands of participants in magnificent and colourful costumes dance to electrifying Samba music through the streets of Funchal, spreading an ambiance evoking the Carnival of Rio. Each year poses a new theme for the carnival and is always followed by the more relaxed and fun ‘peoples’ parade, whereby locals and tourists can dress up in anything they want and show off their creations to the public in a more ‘party’ and less formal atmosphere.

Flower Festival - April

The Flower Festival, that takes place in spring when the flowers are at their best, has been one of the major attractions for both tourists and locals for a long time. In every year's edition each group presents their costumes accompanied with dances to a newly conceived choreography. In the past few years a new addition was made to this event. At the Largo do Colégio' (Colégio Square) you will find the so-called ‘Wall of Hope' - a wall where children place their own flowers with the objective of building a big flower wall symbolising the hope for a better and more peaceful world.

The Atlantic Festival 1st - 30th June

The Atlantic Festival has three components: the Madeira Music Festival, International Fireworks Competition and performances by philharmonic bands in the city centre. The most spectacular part of this Festival is that every Saturday Night, throughout the month, at the Harbour in Funchal , a fireworks display lights up the City of Funchal where contestants from different countries show their talents using this event to host the Pyrotechnics competition. The best fireworks bonanza in the competition wins the bid to host the display for New Year.

The Madeira Wine Festival (usually) 2nd-4th September

The Madeira Wine Festival is held in September during the grape harvest, taking a trip back in time to the popular old customs since the island was first settled. The picking of the grapes, the ‘pickers parade’, treading of the grapes and the whole ritual of a typical Madeira folk celebration are enjoyed by all. In the centre of Funchal there are light, sound and folk shows connected to traditional wine-making.

Christmas & New Year 

The Christian traditions for the period of Christmas, which are very much part of the customs of Madeira's population, are celebrated with a rich programme of cultural, ethnographic and artistic manifestations filling the month of December and extending up to the day of the Three Holy Kings. The beautiful amphitheatre setting of Funchal provides a magnificent scenery, illuminated by a myriad of lights. The peak of this festivity period are without any doubt the New Year's Eve celebrations taking place in hotels, restaurants, bars and streets, crowned by spectacular fireworks, set off from approximately 50 posts, illuminating the sky of Funchal for the duration of about fifteen minutes. Overwhelming and unforgettable!

For more information on the current festivals for this year, please go to www.madeiraactive.com

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