The Festa dos Compadres is a traditional festival which signifies the opening of the Carnival season on Madeira Island in Portugal. The festivities are a chance for locals to ridicule the key figures of the day and giant figurines are built and paraded around town amongst much music, dancing and good humour. The main event is a mock trial of the male and female figurines, known as the comadre and the compadre who meet their end in a huge bonfire which takes place in the evening. The event is traditionally seen as a way for locals to alleviate their worries and come together as a community to celebrate life.
The most famous Festa dos Compadres celebration takes place in the small municipality of Santana on the northeastern coast of Madeira island. The locals spend much of the winter preparing the giant figurines which form a major part of this festival. If you’re planning to attend this unique local celebration, fly into the island’s main transport hub, Madeira Airport, which is served by several UK airlines including Jet2, Monarch Airlines and Thomson Airlines. From the airport, you can get on a local bus to Santana or take the Aerobus to Funchal if you’d like to check out the island’s capital first.
If you’re planning to be in Madeira for the carnival season, do remember to bring some warm clothes with you as the winters are known for being fairly wet. As well as eating the traditional malasadas, delicious fried doughnuts eaten in carnival season to use up all the sugar, butter and eggs in preparation for Lent, you must try the product that Madeira is most famous for - its wine! There are plenty of vineyards in the region where you can sample a wide variety of the island’s highly prized fortified wine.
Get the most of your visit to these beautiful Atlantic islands by staying in the perfect rental accommodation for you. Book with Eventful Stays and you can choose to stay in rural cottages, apartments, bed and breakfasts, studios or on all types of boats…all close to Santana via public transport. Check out our accommodation in Madeira.
While you’re in Madeira, make sure you find time to see some of the amazing sights on this beautiful island, such as Pico do Arieiro and Ponta de Sao Lourenco. The walk up to Cabo Girao is certainly worth it for one of the islands’ best views.
To find out more information about this intriguing festival, please contact the municipal region’s official website where you’ll be able to check out the history of this festival, what time it starts and where to head to take part.
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