One of the best time of the year to visit Madeira Island is in the Summer, because of the mild subtropical climate.
February is here, and it brings with it more reasons to visit Madeira. The charm remains, and between December and February what happened was only January, from when one could already hear the beats that announced the preparations for Carnival. The sun and the sea are shining brightly, and the landscapes are already a lot greener.
Carnival is with no doubt a festival deeply rooted in Madeira’s culture and celebrating the season according to local style includes embracing a set of rituals, letting oneself be taken away by the carnival spirit and return in time until you feel, once again, a happy child. The route is quite simple: don’t worry and let yourself be happy.
The celebrations begin on the 1st of February, in Santana, located in the northeast coast of the island, which hosts the Compadres Feast. This traditional festivity aims to satirize social issues, allowing citizens to free themselves from the tensions of everyday life meanwhile celebrating the transition from winter to spring season. At the end, an ethnographic parade takes place and two puppets, who have the role of compadre and comadre and represents one as part of the society, are burnt to death.
Then comes the thematic parties, which go from the confetti and serpentine decorating the city’s bars, carnival music and all the initiatives of street animation, to the Carnival dancefloor parties, that assume, every day, a different theme and take place at the end of each night in the many bars and clubs of the Island. This organization is under the responsibility of the owners of the establishments that are also responsible for choosing the theme of the event, which generally happens to be the same throughout all bars & discos. Amongst others, the Hippies’ Night and the Night of the Travesties stands out, which also count on the offer of prizes for the best disguise. Here are some poster ideas for bars and nightclubs in the neighbourhood:
Saturday night arrives, the streets are closed down and hearts are opened up. There is joy on kids and adults faces. It is Carnival Night and on this day Funchal downtown does not sleep and receives all those who along the long avenue are getting ready to see the richest and most graceful Carnival Parade. With a lot of samba rhythm, the dozens of troupes that assiduously compose the annual poster of the Carnival Parade and among hundreds of smiles, one may find here and there a well-known face.
The show must go on with lots of fun and music on the road, for all those who so desire. One of the mostly embraced ideas in recent times is to be delighted with the drinks and snacks of the stalls placed, at Placa Central (Av. Arriaga) and/or other local bars & discos.
Tuesday is the day to live up to the old and wise saying – it’s carnival, no one takes it too bad –, and let yourself be infected by the bold ideas of some participants who use in this day their creativity and skills to build small floats and other characterizations. The Trapalhão Parade is, as the name implies, of free will, where social satire is used to provoke enjoyment. Open to the public, every year it counts with hundreds of participants.
Last but certainly not least, the Enterro do Osso (closest translation could be “Bone Burial Party”) which for being the last party is eagerly awaited and cheerfully received. This event ends the whole Carnival season and comprises an event rich in animation and creativity. In some places, for instance, in D. Pedro Garajau Hotel, located in Caniço, is a tradition with over 25 years of history that annually receives in the hotel pool the Carnival troupes and dozens of families who join in for fun. On site, children are allowed, and various prizes are also awarded.