You are under the wrong impression if you think that Christmas time on the Island of Madeira is just a celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus. We are a bit more festive and convivial for that and have decided to commemorate some of these a few days early. In all the parishes of the Diocese of Funchal “novenas” of spiritual preparation for Christmas are celebrated and are known as the “Missas do Parto”.

It is the preparation for the birth of Jesus and the celebration of the pregnancy of the Virgin Mary during nine Masses … the “novenas”. The first takes place on December 16th, continuing until December 24th, which ends with the birth of Jesus and, consequently, with the “Missa do Galo” at midnight.
They are celebrated at dawn between 5 am and 7 am. The timing is believed to be chosen by symbolism, to determine the time and environment in which Jesus was born, as well as by being “the light that is born into the world” and / or not interfering with the daily struggle of the population, especially in rural areas, where the working day begins at sunrise.

These Eucharists are widely frequented by locals and tourists alike because, besides the religious side, they have a profane, playful and recreational side. In them are chants appropriate to the occasion by the choir and the faithful.

At the end of each Mass, people gather in the convivial churchyard, share food and drink – hot drinks (hot cocoa, coffee), regional liqueurs (tangerine, anise), “poncha” (regional and tangerine), honey and coconut biscuits, donuts and sandwiches of meat marinated in garlic and wine – and groups of songs are formed where regional musical instruments such as the rajão, castanets, the braguinha and machete, the tambourine, the pipe, the bass drum, the harmonica or the mouthorgan are played. Although less frequent these days, fireworks and firecrackers are also launched.

Not to be missed:  Calendar – Missas do Parto 2019

Funchal

  • Álamos – 6:00 am;
  • Coração de Jesus – 6:00 am;
  • Curral das Freiras – 5:30 am during the week; 6:30 am at Sundays;
  • Fátima – 6:00 am;
  • Graça – 6:00 am;
  • Imaculado Coração de Maria – 7:30 am;
  • Livramento – 6:00 am;
  • Nazaré – 6:00 am;
  • Nossa Senhora do Monte – 6:00 am;
  • Piedade (Porto Santo) – 6:00 am;
  • Sagrada Família – 6:30 am;
  • Santa Luzia – 6:30 am;
  • Santo Amaro – 6:30 am;
  • Santo António – 6:00 am;
  • São Gonçalo – 6:00 am;
  • São José – 9:30 am;
  • São Martinho – 6:00 am;
  • São Pedro – 6:30 am;
  • São Roque – 6:00 am;
  • Sé do Funchal – 7:30 am;
  • Visitação – 8:30 pm;
  • Vitória / Santa Rita – 6:00 am;
  • Igreja do Colégio – 5:00 pm (Monday to Saturday) and Sunday at 7:30 pm
  • Mosteiro de Santo António – 7:00 am;
  • Igreja do Carmo (Funchal) – 7:30 am;
  • Capela do Bom Jesus – 6:30 am.

Câmara de Lobos

  • Câmara de Lobos – 6:00 am;
  • Carmo – 6:00 am;
  • Encarnação – 6:00 am;
  • Estreito de Câmara de Lobos – 6:00 am;
  • Garachico – 5:30 am;
  • Quinta Grande – 6:00 am;
  • Santa Cecília – 6:00 am;
  • São Tiago – 6:00 am.

Calheta

  • Amparo – 8:00 pm 13th, 18th and 20th December; 9:30 am at 15th and 22nd December;
  • Arco da Calheta – 8:00 pm;
  • Calheta – 6:30 am everyday; 5:00 am at 21st December; 11:00 am at 22nd December; Estreito da Calheta – 6:00 am;
  • Fajã da Ovelha – 11:00 am at 15th and 22th December; 8:00 pm ate 17th and 19th December;
  • Jardim do Mar – 7:30 am;
  • Loreto – 7:30 am;
  • Paul do Mar – 6:00 am;
  • Ponta do Pargo – 6:00 am;
  • Prazeres – 7:00 pm;
  • Raposeira -7:00 pm;
  • São Francisco Xavier – 5:00 am at 16th, 18th, 20th and 23th December; 9:30am ate 15th and 22nd December; 7:00 pm at 17th and 19th December; 6:30 pm at 21st December.

Santana

  • Faial – 5:00 am (except Sunday);
  • Ilha – 7:0 pm;
  • Porto da Cruz – 6:00 am;
  • Santana – 6:00 am;
  • Arco de São Jorge – 10:00 am at Sundays; 5:00 am at 16th, 17th, 18th and 23rd December; 8:00 pm at 19th and 20rd December; 7:00 pm at 21st December;
  • São Jorge – 8:00 am at Sundays; 6:30 am at 16th and 18th December; 6:00 pm at 17th, 19th, 20th and 23rd December; 5:00 pm at 21st December; 8:00 am at 22nd December;
  • São Roque do Faial – 6:30 am (Monday to Saturday) and 9:0 am at Sundays.

Santa Cruz / Machico

  • Achada – 6:00 am;
  • Água de Pena – 6:00 am at 16th, 18th, 20th and 22nd December;
  • Assomada – 8:00 pm;
  • Camacha – 6:00 am;
  • Caniçal – 6:00 am;
  • Caniço – 8:00 pm (Monday to Saturday) and 6:00 am at Sundays;
  • Eiras – 6:00 am (Monday to Saturday) and 8:00 am at Sundays;
  • Gaula – 5:30 am;
  • Lombada – 7:15 am;
  • Machico – 6:00 am;
  • Piquinho – 6:00 am (Monday to Saturday) and 7:00 am at Sundays;
  • Preces – 6:00 am (Monday to Saturday) and 7:00 am at Sundays;
  • Ribeira Seca – 6:00 am;
  • Rochão – 7:30 am at Sundays; 8:30 pm at 20th and 21st December;
  • Santa Cruz – 6:00 am;
  • Santo da Serra – 6:00 am;
  • Ribeira de Machico – 8:00 pm.

Ponta da Sol / Ribeira Brava

  • Campanário – 6:00 am;
  • Canhas – 5:30 am (Monday to Saturday) and 6:00 am at 15th and 22th December;
  • Carvalhal – 6:45 am (Monday to Saturday) and 7:15 am at 15th and 22th December;
  • Conceição – 6:30 am at 15th; 16th and 20th December; 5:00 am at 17th, 18th, 22rd and 23rd December; 7:30 pm at 19th and 21rd December;
  • Madalena do Mar – 8:00 pm;
  • Ponta do Sol – 5:00 am at 15th, 16th and 20rd December; 6:30 am at 17th, 19h and 21rd December; 7:0 pm at 18th and 22rd December;
  • Ribeira Brava – 6:00 am;
  • São João – 6:00 am;
  • São Paulo – 8:00 pm;
  • Serra de Água – 6:00 am;
  • Tabua – 8:30 am at 15th December; 7:30 pm at 16th December; 6:30 am at 18th December; 10:30 am 20th December; 6:00 pm at 21st December; 6:30 am 22nd December.

São Vicente / Porto Moniz

  • Achadas da Cruz – 8:00 am at 15th and 22rd December; 6:00 pm at 17th and 19th December;
  • Boa Ventura – 5:00 am at 18th and 23rd December; 8:00 am at Sundays; 6:30 am at 16th, 19th and 2st; 8:00 pm at 17th and 20th December;
  • Fajã do Penedo – 5:00 am at 16th, 19th and 21st December; 6:30 am at 17th, 20th and 23rd December; 11:30 am at 15st December; 8:00 pm at 18th December; 10:00 am at 22nd December;
  • Ponta Delgada – 5:00 am at 17th and 20th December; 6:00 am at 22nd December; 6:30 am at 18th December; 10:00 am at 15th December; 8:00 am at 21st December; 8:00 pm at 16th, 19th and 23rd December;
  • Porto Moniz – 6:00 am;
  • Santa – 5:00 am (Monday to Friday) and 23rd December; 9:30 am at 15th and 22rd December; 7:30 pm at 21st December;
  • São Vicente – 6:15 am (Monday to Friday); 6:45 am at Saturdays; 9:00 am at Sundays;
  • Seixal – 5:00 am (Monday to Friday); 5:30 am at Saturdays; 11:00 am at Sundays.