2250 newyear elo7
Photo: Elo7

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March – December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

The celebrations of New Year in Portugal

In Portugal, people celebrate New Year on the 31st of December at night, with friends or family. In Porto, there are a lot of different parties happening all over and at midnight people gather in the main square to watch the fireworks. There are also concerts all over town. In other cities, fireworks are also common and the celebrations can be seen a bit everywhere throughout the country.


As a typical dish, they eat shrimp as a starter. The main dish is normally a tasty dish of meat or fish and we can eat at home with our families or at the restaurant. Nowadays, it is more and more common to eat at a hotel and spend time with your friends on this evening.

The Countdown

Short before midnight, start preparing for the countdown. This includes getting raisins – 12 to be exact – that we will eat at the sound of the twelve chimes. For each chime, they eat one raisin and we think of a wish. However, we cannot tell the wish to other people or (we think) it won’t come true.

Moreover, many peolple believe that going on top of a chair before midnight and jumping on the floor with the right foot first after midnight will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. Do not jump with your left foot, though!

At midnight, they also drink champagne! It is the New Year after all, it is time to celebrate!

Important New Year Words and Expressions in Portuguese

Now that you know some of the New Year Traditions in Portugal, it is time to learn some of the most important New Year Words and Expressions. If you come to Portugal to spend New Year or if you are with Portuguese people, don’t forget to surprise them with the following words and expressions about New Year in Portuguese:

Happy New Year Bom Ano Novo/ Feliz Ano Novo

Raisins Uvas passas

Champagne Champanhe

Twelve Chimes Doze badaladas

Midnight Meia-Noite

Countdown Contagem Decrescente

Toast Brinde

Fireworks Fogo-de-artifício

New Years Day Dia de Ano Novo

And this is it! I hope you enjoyed this post and that you learnt how to say Happy New Year in Portuguese.

Some other ways to celebrate a Portuguese New Year:

Take a cold dive in the ocean on the first of January.

Kiss a loved one at the stroke of twelve.

Have money in hand at midnight to bring money throughout the year.

Throw money towards the inside of the house.

Turn on all the lights, open all the doors, and go outside. Step back inside using your right foot first.

Jump on one leg three times with a glass of champagne in your hand at midnight.

Dancing around a tree promises prosperity.

Don’t eat poultry for your last meal of the old year to avoid “happiness from flying away”.

Do eat chocolate to “attract riches” as well as bolo rei, leitão, caldo verde and broa (corn bread), or bacalhau as these are traditional for this time of year.

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