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Friday Briefing: Keep Warm and Enjoy Easter

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. The weather outside is frightful but indoors Easter is so delightful. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.


Bonjour Almonds, individually embellished and painted by hand, by Arcádia

POLITICS

Election number four here we go: President Marcelo dissolved the Madeira Assembly and scheduled regional elections for May 26 (More).
Talking about false starts: it took four votes, an embarrassing rebuff by CHEGA, and a deal to share the post with the Socialists, for the AD Government to finally elect a speaker of Parliament (More).
On Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister-designate, Luís Montenegro, presented the composition of his new Government.

SOCIETY

A new study predicts that dementia cases in Portugal will double in the next 50 years, with three out of four people with dementia expected to be aged 80 or over by 2080 (More).
The Public Prosecutor's Office halted the construction of a solar park - said to be Europe's largest - in Santiago do Cacém, Alentejo, over the clearing of a cork tree forest to make way for panels (More).

ECONOMICS

Portugal recorded a historic budget surplus of 1.2% last year, exceeding the Finance Ministry’s official forecast. But don’t count your chickens yet: this is only a small step towards bringing Portugal under the eurozone debt target of 60% of GDP (More).
National carrier TAP achieved its highest net profit ever last year, with revenues exceeding €4 billion for the first time. However, the last three months of 2023 saw a loss of 26.2 million euros (More).

CULTURE AND SPORTS

Starting in April, Portugal will roll-out a 20 euros voucher for 18-year-olds to spend on physical books. Those who turned 18 in 2023 will also be covered by the initiative (More).
Portugal’s national football team slipped to a surprise 2-0 defeat to Slovenia in a Euro 2024 friendly on Tuesday, its first defeat since the arrival of Spanish coach Roberto Martinez who had previously won eleven games in a row (More).

*TAKE NOTICE: On Sunday, March 31, at 1am, clocks will move forward one hour in Mainland Portugal and Madeira. In the Azores, at midnight the clocks will be put forward to 1am.


IN FOCUS

WHAT’S ON PORTUGUESE TABLES ON EASTER?

Portuguese Easter food traditions vary across the country, but all have one thing in common: there is always a lot of food. Dinner tables fill up with everything from cod, wines and lamb to the traditional folar, besides the traditonal candied almonds, chocolates and sweets.


Here are 5 of the most popular dishes of the season:


Roasted Goat, Lamb or Mutton (all across the country)

On Easter Sunday, the centuries-old tradition of eating one of these meats celebrates, according to Christian tradition, the end of Lent, a time of fasting, and the resurrection of Christ. Throughout Portugal, the menu adapts to the customs and animals raised in each region. If you can’t have it at home, check out Expresso, which recently compiled a list of 10 wonderful restaurant from North to South of Portugal to taste this exquisite treat.


Folar de Olhão (Algarve)

“Folar” is a fancy bread which is traditionally baked at Easter. There are many types – sweet and savoury - and each town has its own folar. Folar de Olhão has seven layers of caramelised sugar and cinnamon. More like a cake than a bread it is hard on the outside, with the appearance of a large English pork pie and incredibly gooey inside.


Folar de Carne à Transmontana (North)

In the Trás-os-Montes region, the so-called Folar Transmontano is one of the most famous in Portugal. It’s made from soft, fluffy bread dough and can be filled with pork, chicken, ham, salpicão, sausage and other ingredients. Its meaning is linked to friendship and reconciliation, and it is a strong symbol of the Easter spirit for the Portuguese.


Folar Alentejano (South)

In the Alentejo region, there is no Easter without this delicious folar that has one or more hard boiled eggs at the top, made of sweet and aromatic pastry. According to Portuguese tradition, godchildren take a bouquet of violets to their godmothers on Palm Sunday and later, on Easter Sunday, the godmothers offer their godchildren a folar, a cake used to symbolise the bonds of affection between them.


Easter Empanadilhas (Center)

In Covilhã, in addition to the traditional folar made with cinnamon and fennel and always decorated with one or more hard-boiled or coloured eggs, Easter Sunday means also empanadilhas, small half-moon-shaped sweets filled with almonds and walnuts.


TIPS OF THE WEEK

Lisbon

Nicolas Floc’h: Open Sea

Nicolas Floc’h underwater photography discovers new artistic imaginaries and reveals a poetic dimension of enormous technical and aesthetic proficiency. In the summer of 2022, at the invitation of MAAT, the artist did a ten-day residency in the Tagus Estuary - the result of which this exhibition shows. The project will continue in the Azores archipelago, in the area of underwater hydrothermal vents, in collaboration with the University of the Azores and during a residency at the Arquipélago art centre of São Miguel.


Soraia Ramos at Coliseu



Soraia Ramos, already recognized as one of today's most promising and captivating voices from Cape Verde, promises to bring a vibrant and unique energy to the Coliseu. This concert will not only mark her first performance at the Coliseu, but will also be the perfect opportunity to present her long-awaited first album, entitled "Cocktail", to the public. The show takes place at 9.30pm, on March 30. Tickets from 35€ are available here.


Porto

Yayoi Kusama: 1945 To Now

Over the past seven decades, Yayoi Kusama honed a singular personal aesthetic and philosophy of life. Kusama’s work captivates millions by offering glimpses of boundless space and reflections on natural cycles of regeneration. Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now narrates the story of this artist’s life and work, foregrounding her longing for interconnection and the profound questions about existence that drive her creative explorations. Tickets are 24€ per person and can be booked here.


Easter at WOW

On the extended Easter weekend, WOW is preparing five days of celebration for the whole family. There will be a thematic wine workshop, children's entertainment, an Easter Egg Exhibition and, of course, lots of chocolate. A brunch will be served throughout the day from Friday to Sunday, and special dishes will be offered in each of the cultural district's restaurants on Easter day. Full schedule and tickets are available here.


Elsewhere

The Buriti Flower



With Crowrã (The Buriti Flower), Portuguese filmmaker João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora, winners in 2018 of the Cannes Film Festival special Jury Prize for The Dead and the Others, once again follows the indigineous Krahô people over three time periods of their history, in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. Shot on their land over fifteen months, this film screened at Un Certain Regard is a tribute to the extraordinary capacity of resilience of this indigenous people and of the fight they carry out to preserve their freedom. It is now showing at cinemas across the country.

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