Let Kleya introduce you to the gorgeous island of Madeira, officially awarded the title of one of the “biggest fireworks display in the world” by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006!
The magnificent Christmas light decorations all over Funchal, together with the fantastic New Year’s Eve fireworks and activities make Madeira Island one of the most attractive ‘réveillon’ destinations.
This is a very special season in Madeira as traditions and customs are renewed. December is the month of the 'Festa', as the Madeirans call it. A lot of dedication is put into decorating the houses, with the traditional "lapinhas" (cribs) and with flowers of the season, into the markets with all the typical Christmas delicacies, like honey biscuits, liqueurs, or meat in wine and garlic.
These festivities are highlighted on December 31, with the spectacular fireworks show. It is truly an unforgettable moment, seen from the sea or by land, and the most incredible way to leave the old year behind and embrace the New Year! This is undoubtedly the longest night in Madeira, with people celebrating the New Year until dawn!
This tradition goes all the way back to the 17th century, when New Year’s Eve was celebrated with bonfires. In the 18th century, the island’s British population introduced the first fireworks. In the following century, Madeiran banker João Leitão adopted the tradition, and soon after all the richest families on the island were competing for the best fireworks display. And so with each passing year, the fireworks got bigger and better!
But the New Year celebrations are spread out into more than just one night…!
On these festive days, streets of Funchal fill up with live music, performed at Avenida Arriaga. Let yourself be carried away by the rhythm and enjoy a philharmonic band, folk groups and Christmas choirs, concerts of classical music, jazz, bandoleers, guitars and madeiran traditional instruments.
For some intense exercise, you can join “São Silvestre” Marathon on the 28th December! The route is 5,850 meters long and runs along the main streets of the capital. If you prefer a slower pace, the collective walk “Marcha da Saúde” is a good choice.
Book dinner at a luxurious hotel or restaurant to enjoy the special nights of the 30th and 31st December. After dinner, go partying and dancing. The mild temperatures allow the ladies to show off their gala dresses, and the men wear a tuxedo or a dark suit, filling the streets of Funchal with a special glamour.
On the 31st many cruise ships arrive to the bay of Funchal. The streets are full of tourists and locals, in a joyful gathering of several nationalities. The Madeira Orchestra New Year’s concert is performed in front of an audience of thousands of people, at the city pier. A minute before midnight, the countdown begins, followed by the spectacular fireworks show.
Good resolutions for the new year are made! Tradition says that you should make 12 wishes at midnight (one for each grape eaten), you should climb one step and you should keep some money in your pocket, so that the new year brings you good luck and prosperity.