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New Year's Day

New Year's Day 2019 and 2020

The New Year is observed in Portugal with widespread celebration on New Year’s Eve, 31 December, and a public holiday on 1 January.

YearDateDayHoliday
20191 JanTueNew Year's Day
20201 JanWedNew Year's Day

In Portugal, welcoming the New Year is an integral part of a larger season of festivities that stretches from Christmas Eve to 6 January, which is Epiphany when the Three Kings are thought to have bestowed gifts upon Baby Jesus.

During this whole period, people will traditionally eat Bolo Rei (King Cake), which is a rich, doughnut shaped fruit cake covered in glazed sugar and resembling a king’s crown. A small fava bean is sometimes hidden in the cake, and whoever finds it with their teeth has to buy the Bolo Rei for the family next year.

For good luck, it’s a old tradition for people eat a dozen raisins on New Year’s Eve and make a wish for each month of the year to come. Other good luck strategies include carrying money in your pocket to “attract” wealth, wearing blue slippers, stepping off a chair onto your right foot, and clanging pots and pans together to drive away evil spirits.

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