After the cod fish on Christmas Eve, turkey on Christmas day and the Sao Silvestre race on December 26th is now time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, and for us Madeirans this means ‘big fireworks displays’.
Since the XVIII century, due to English influence Madeirans celebrate their entrance in the New Year with a big pyrotechnic display. Eight to ten minutes of fireworks that every year is the delight of the masses and that in 2006 took Madeira Island to the Guinness World Records as the “Greatest Fireworks Show in the World” – title held until 2012.
This year’s theme is “Emotions of Light” and the fire will erupt from the 37 stations (31 onshore and 6 offshore platforms) strategically placed in the unique amphitheatre of the Funchal bay’s. The show will involve tons of fire with more than 500 000 shots at a rate of more than 6 thousand shots per minute. The island will be lit by the Christmas illuminations, streets and houses lights that will add beauty to the overall spectacle.
On this night, every Madeiran has its own strategy to welcome the New Year in style. Some will spend the New Year’s Eve in family or with friends, others will dress up and go to one of many black tie balls or clubs, but for sure not one person in Madeira will let 2015 go without a blast.
As per tradition, this is the night to eat seafood, Bolo Rei (King’s cake), and chicken soup after twelve o’clock. The bubbly, regional liquors and 12 raisins are also mandatory presences on the Madeiran table. Likewise, the New Year cannot be started without the traditional blue panties or boxers (for good luck). After all who doesn’t need a bit of good luck?!
So, at midnight tonight, the cruises will honk three times, the illuminations on the mountain will pass from 2015 to 2016, and everyone will step forward with the right foot while eating 12 raisins and making a wish for each raisin eaten. The colourful fireworks will be banging and bashing, people will clink their champagne flutes, and wishes of Happy New Year will be overheard everywhere with lovers passionately kissing for another year of eternal love. The must-do selfies, will also be done while assisting to the 8 to 10 minutes firework display; 2016 will have barely started but the islanders will manage to juggle an array of traditions into the first ten minutes of the new year.
At 00:08, twelve ‘detonations’ will shake houses and anyone to its core, marking the end of a memorable show on a bay that is now covered by smoke and gunpowder residues. It will then be time to eat the traditional chicken soup and carry on partying until sunrise.
At seven in the morning, partygoers will be seen strolling through the Funchal city centre or having their breakfast in one of many outdoors cafes. It is now 2016, and New Year’s Eve in Madeira Island was nothing less than spectacular!
A Happy 2016 to you all!