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The Route of the Nativity Scenes

It's Christmas time. Time to make the christmas tree and spread the ornaments through the house. Time to prepare those special meals. Time to buy the gifts. Time to gather the family. Time to feel the warmth coming from the fireplace. And in most portuguese homes it's still made the nativity scene.

Big or small, with many or few figurines, with or without moss, in many homes the decor is not complete without this religious element.

Some cities or organizations also decide to make their nativity scenes and share them with everyone. Grand in size there is even a already hit the Guinness record for the largest nativity scene in the world. But they all rely on the dedication of volunteers and enthusiasts who during long hours focus on bringing some magic into the hearts of those who visit.

The tradition is still what it was and My Own Portugal have to show you some of the most beautiful nativity scenes made in these lands.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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Valença – The Nativity City

It is the largest exhibition of nativity scenes that involve collections from public and private entities. This event includes hundreds of nativity scenes made in storefronts, showcases, shop counters as well as a group exhibition of Christmas crowns for doors and / or entries. At the Municipal Museum you can see nativity scenes that come from the Pottery Museum of Barcelos, the Museum of Sacred Art and Ethnology of Fatima, the Tui Cathedral and from several private lenders. In this museum there will be a section dedicated to edible nativity scenes prepared by local pastries. The nativity scenes made on the street, are part of the "Liturgical Christmas Cycle" located at the Capela dos Passos of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia: • Near the Church of Santo Estevão: Nativity; • On the street of S. Francisco: Nativity; • At the transept of the Church of Santa Maria: Adoration of the Shepherds; • At the Mouzinho de Albuquerque street: Adoration of the Tree Wise Man; • In Coroada: Presentation of the baby Jesus at the Temple. The Tourism store is the place where dozens of handmade nativity scenes are showed, from Valença artisans.

Dates and schedules:
From 01 December 2014 to 07 th of January 2015
Where: Valença
Entry: Free admission
See the Official Program here
Source: Council of Valença

Live Nativity of Priscos
The biggest live nativity scene in Europe.

Nine years ago, the Parish of São Tiago of Priscos, from the Archdiocese of Braga, organizes a Live Nativity Scene. The main objective is to focus Christmas of the Portuguese into the image of the child of Bethlehem. The Live Nativity Scene is an opportunity to take a trip to the time when Jesus was born. To a time with voices, music, smells, flavors, sounds, houses, shops, squares and markets and about 600 to 800 participants who give life to an ancient story. It is a space of about 30.000 m2 with over than 90 scenarios, with reference to Egyptian, Jewish, Roman, Assyrian, Greek and Babylonian cultures.

In this village, a space of 30.000 m2, everyone is invited to live the true Christmas spirit that will invade this area of ​​Braga. The children will be the kings of the ninth edition of the Christmas Village, with various activities designed to their needs, from the "House of the baby Jesus" to the "House of the animals", and getting to know the various crafts of that time even having the opportunity to sip a delicious "hot chocolate" at the sweet shop at the "village of the Romans". The adults have not been forgotten and throughout the various sessions, as they will be able to recall their childhood through the most traditional scenes of the nativity. Like: blacksmiths forging and tempering the iron, the shoemaker fixing broken sandals, the lumberjacks cutting firewood, the peasants organizing the working tools, the weaver at the loom making the wool yarn, the potter shaping clay, the baker kneading the dough, shepherds taking care of their herds, the Rabbi singing psalms at the synagogue, Senators discussing their riches, thieves pick pocketing at the market, the sellers of seeds, vegetables, plants and fish to make a living and the Nazareth family struggling on the shadows of their time... Visitors can also enjoy a wide gastronomic offer available in several houses of the "villages of the Jews and Romans". You can also enjoy the "Caesar's bread" made with water, tea salt, flour and chorizo ​​slices; "Mead" an alcoholic fermented beverage from honey and water; "Posca" drink made with vinegar and water; used as a refreshment by the Romans; roasted chestnuts; young wine; coffee in the pot; candy from the Jewish people; Roman bread; Cherry liquor; candies from Rome and the famous pudding "Abade de Priscos".

Dates and schedules:
– day 21 December, opening from 10h30 to 12h00 and from 15h00 to 19h00.
– day 25 December from 15h00 to 18h00
– day 26 December from 14.30 to 17.00
– day 27 December from 20h00 to 23h00
– day 28 December from 14h30 to 18h00
– day 01 January from 15h00 to 18h00
– day 03 January from 20h00 to 23h00
– day 04 January from 14h30 to 18h00
– day 10 January from 20h00 to 23h00
– day 11 January from 14h30 to 18h00
Where: Largo da Igreja 4700-783, Priscos
Entry: Free admission


Source: Parish of Priscos

Vila do Conde

Time for Magic

To preserve the tradition of family involvement in the holiday season, around the nativity scene, going beyond the act of faith that is the Holy Family. Infused with this magic, it will be open to the public, the 14th edition the EXHIBITION - SALE OF NATIVITY SCENES OF PORTUGAL, at the Memory Center – Vila do Conde.

Organized by the Association for the Defense of Handcrafts and Heritage and in collaboration with the City Hall, there are about 500 figures, from craftsmen from all over the country, like the pottery of Barcelos, the "folhelho" figures of Canas de Senhorim, the Bobbin lace of Vila do Conde and other works made of various materials and various techniques.

The National Crafts Fair of Vila do Conde is considered to the one that assures more exposure to the national craftsmen, contributing decisively to their publicity, promotion and sale of traditional crafts, because the organizers have been promoting this Exhibition - Sale of Nativity Scenes of Portugal, as an incentive for small-scale production, but also presenting an alternative for gifts in this holiday season.

The success of previous editions has been growing, this can be seen in the number of participants expected for this year, but above all by the amount of pieces exhibited, which in itself is already a real record.

Dates and schedules:
From 5 to 21 December 2014, from 10.00 to 18.00
Where: Memory Center – Vila do Conde
S. Sebastião square
4480-706 Vila do Conde
Entry: Free admission
Download the official program here


Source: Council of Vila do Conde

Cavalinho's Nativity Scene

The biggest moving

nativity scene

in the world

The Biggest Nativity Scene of the World, in Movement” th or “Cavalinho's Nativity Scene” is located in the village and parish of São Paio de Oleiros, council of Santa Maria da Feira. This is moving nativity scene, already traditional in this region in the Christmas season. The scenarios whose assembly involves more than 30 volunteers, most employees of Cavalinho, consists of thousands of pieces, whose mechanics are secured by more than 55 kilometers of electric cable, more than 5000 LED lamps and about 100 motion sensors. Rediscover the true magic of Christmas, with all references to Christian tradition but also to, the Bicycle Tour of Portugal, the square of the Portuguese festivals or for the little princesses and Santas. The highlights are, the scenes of Jesus' life and the apparitions of the Holy Mother in Fátima, Pope Francis in prayer and visiting the image of Mary. also in Fátima, among other scenes. In 2014 it has more than 7500 pieces and a total of 4 thousand square meters. It has broke the record that in 2013 was part of the Guinness Book of Records.

Dates and schedules:
From 2 of November of 2014 to 19 March 2015, 08h00 to 24h00
Where: Rua da Igreja 346-352 4535-446 S. Paio de Oleiros (about. 3km from Espinho)
Entry: Free admission


Source: Cavalinho

Penela's Nativity Scene

Penela's nativity scene is a reference in the country that attracts thousands of people every year and offers very special moments for the whole family. The Christmas magic starts here, from 7 December! Go there, visit our nativity scenes, try our gastronomic flavors, explore our natural and historical heritage. Stay here from 6 January 2015 and enjoy a festive program full of irresistible proposals with lots of entertainment, plays, colour, music and happiness… You can also see the live Nativity Scene at the castle. This edition in 2014 of the Live Nativity Scene, was completely renewed, and combines traditional techniques to new technologies where dozens of animated figures create the traditional scenes of the portuguese nativity scene. THE TRADIITIONAL NATIVITY SCENE OF ESPINHAL. In the village of Espinhal, a traditional scene with about 260 square meters, made by local artisans, represents the parish and its heritage and deserves certainly your visit. TRACK RAILWAY. For lovers of train set models, near Espinhal's nativity scene, a huge train track that delights young and old alike! In this track travels, simultaneous, 10 trains that, never stop, through the stations. ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW. Live recreation of old workshops and daily rural life of old potters, shoemakers, carpenters, millers, tinsmiths, coopers, among many others ... they tell us stories and show us the lifestyles of the recent past we do not want to forget and where you can find, either in the village of Penela, either in Espinhal. LIVE NATIVITY SCENE. In a live set, representative of the traditional nativity scene, rhythms and routines of the Hebrew daily life with their works and crafts, trades and customs, recreate one scenic frame of a people subjected to the powerful Roman Empire, at the time of the birth of Jesus. ANIMATION AND STREET THEATRE. In the surroundings of Penela's Castle, storytellers, actors and fakers, jugglers, dancers, magicians, ... create permanent moments of theatrical and musical entertainment that promise to wonder all visitors. WORKSHOPS OF FANTASY. 3D Photos, "Playing with electronics", "Kraft" Workshops and interactive games are some of the offers of this interactive space with the audience. All in a relaxed atmosphere, serene, educational and great fun where everyone is invited to participate! CHRISTMAS MARKET. Typical products of the region await for you in a traditional and family friendly market where you can also find urban and local crafts, here strongly represented, a way to promote traditional arts and local products. NATIVITY SCENE EXHIBITION. It's the result of a challenge made to the community, Penela invites you to contemplate the display of nativity scenes, exposed in the most emblematic council space: the churches of Espinhal, of Misericórdia, Sta. Eufémia and S. Miguel. CHRISTMAS TRAIN. The Christmas Train will enlighten Penela's Nativity Scene of 2014 , taking passengers on a magical journey through the village of Penela.

Dates and schedules:
From 7 December 2014 to 6 th of January 2015, from 10:00 to 18:00 on weekdays and from 10h00 to 19h00 on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
Where: Near the Castle of Penela
Entrance at working days: Adults 2 € | Children up to 5 years Free | Children from 6 to 12 years 1 € Families (2 Adults 2 children) 5€ | Groups (+15) 1€*
Entrance Weekends and Holidays: Adults 3 € | Children up to 5 years Free | Children from 6 to 12 years 2 € Families (2 Adults 2 children) 8€ | Groups (+15) 2€* * Booking required: Phone. 239 560 020


Source: Council of Penela

Village of

Nativity Scenes Made of Salt

Rio Maior

The nativity scenes made of salt is part of the holiday season, where the natural salt fields of Rio Maior become a Christmas village properly decorated at all its wooden houses, these houses that were once used as salt storage. The Salt Storages gave rise to handcraft shops, commerce, restaurants, salt shops, etc.. filled with Christmas decorations, where you can find one or several nativity scenes, made of salt. During the weekends the activities are more diverse, like street entertainment, diligence rides, handcrafts, food and music.

Dates and schedules:
From 6 to 28 December 2014, from 14:00
Where: Rio Maior
Entry: Free admission


Source: Council of Rio Maior


“Nativity Scenes – Collection of Maria Cavaco Silva"

The Museum of the Presidency in partnership with the council of Castelo Vide presents, the exhibition "Nativity Scenes – Collection of Maria Cavaco Silva. This show gives notive to a profuse and curious variety of iconographic representations of the nativity, contributing, with its revenues, for a local charity organization - the Conference of S. Vicente de Paulo of Castelo de Vide. The collection of Maria Cavaco Silva brings together pieces from various origins, from distant countries, as Chile and Thailand, to the traditional Portuguese production centers of nativity scenes, like Barcelos and Estremoz. Translates an informed and affective collection gathered over the years, resulting from her personal interest, her travels and her representative duties. In addition to handcraft works, this collection includes pieces of great symbolic value, produced by charity organizations. Ceramics, wood, tin, clay, tile, cork are some of the raw materials that give shape to 200 cribs presented in this exhibition, selected from a vast collection that has currently almost 500 figures.

Dates and schedules:
From 29 of November 2014 to 11 of January 2015, Monday to Sunday from 10h00 to 12h30 and from 14h00 to 17h00
Where: Church of S. João Batista, Castelo de Vide
Entry: Free admission


Source: Museum of the Presidency of the Republic

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