Singing the Janeiras in the streets of Portugal.
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Singing the Janeiras is a tradition in Portugal that consists of singing Christmas songs in the streets by groups of friends or neighbors (wearing traditional costumes or not), announcing the birth of Jesus and wishing an Happy New Year.
These groups come together, with or without instruments (if there are any, the folk are more common: tambourine, bass drum, flute, guitar, etc.). After the group is done, the lyrics and instruments are distributed, they start to sing door-to-door around the neighborhood.
Each resident, after the group performance at his home, is expected to give to the singers wineries, nuts, walnuts, apples, chorizo, black pudding, chocolates, etc.
At the end of the walk, the group gathers and divides the result, or they all eat together what they have received.
The Janeiras occur in January, beginning on the 1st and extending until the 6th, Kings Day or Epiphany. Nowadays, many groups (especially city dwellers) extend the Singing of Janeiras throughout the month.
The songs used are usually already known, although the lyrics are different according to the regions and villages. They use to be simple songs praising the Baby Jesus, Our Lady, St. Joseph and the residents. Sometimes there are also some criticizing blocks reserved for residents who did not collaborate.
Stay at Casa do Lago to attend the Janeiras singings.