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Please note that many of the events do not have set dates and this is only a guide to what you can expect to find on in Madeira.
Summer has 13 Gatherings per weekend – There are 268 festivals annually in the churches and parishes of Madeira. August is the champion month, with 70 great festas or, put another way, there are an average of 5 festivals every weekend throughout the year. The Sunday following Santo António normally has the most with 19 (14th June). As far as the church goes, Santíssimo Sacramento (Holy Sacrament) is the most popular event with the church, with 12 celebrations. Most of the festivals on Madeira (201) are held between June and September, an average of 12 or 13 per weekend. This does not include other festivals, such as gastronomic events and ‘Dia do Conselho’ (annual day of the town / area). April has no festas due to Easter but does have the Flower Festival 2 weeks after Easter. February and March have the least festivals (both 3), as these months are associated with Lent.
The first week of January you can still catch the Christmas lights before they are switched off. Cantar os Reis (Singing of the Kings) is celebrated every year 5th to 6th January all over the Island, where family, neighbours and friends of all ages come out and sing door-to-door. The 15th January is Festa do Senhor Santo Amaro, this religious festival is held in Santa cruz, Ponta do Sol, and Paul do Mar, it brings a close to Christmas, the decorations come down and the Cupboards are sweept clean of all the festive food with one last feast.The MADEIRA WALKING FESTIVALcan be enjoyed in the middle of the month for 5 days with many levadas on the itinerary. The MADEIRA ORIENTEERING FESTIVAL 3-day event is at the end of the month. Festa do Panelo is held in Seixal on the last Sunday of the month, Families and friends meet to prepare a communal lunch in the countryside around Chão da Ribeira, cooked in a huge panelo (pot) over a wood fire.
Festa do Compadres in Santana is normally in the first week of the month, or can sometimes be end of Jan, This is becoming one of the largest festivals in Santana. February brings CARNIVAL, this starts on a Thursday with the very popular Transvestite Night on the Friday, with the main Carnival Parade on the Saturday evening and finishes the following Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) with the fun carnival. The ANONA (custard apple) FESTIVAL is in Faial around the end of February.
The MADEIRA GOLF OPEN usually happens in the middle of the month.
The Regional sugar cane fair is an annual event taking place in the farmers market in Canhas, Ponta do Sol. The festival features an exhibit of the sugar industry and a sugar cane presentation, where visitors get a chance to learn how honey molasses are produced, sample foods and also take part in the cutting of the sugar cane, followed by traditional entertainment, contests, food and drink.Normally towards end of month.
The 13th of April is the day of Fatima. You can see the people climb the steps on their knees at Cabo Girão. In the middle of the month is the sugar cane presentation at Ponta do Sol.
Reid's Palace classic car show can be seen towards the end of April on the street in front of the Hotel.
May brings the FLOWER FESTIVAL. This is a change of date as this Festival no longer follows 2 weeks after Easter, the flower carpet and flower displays can be seen in Funchal frpm the Wednesday, then Saturday the children bring a flower and build the ‘Wall of Hope’. With the main Parade on the Sunday. 9-12 May 2013
ONION FESTIVAL in Caniço around the 2nd week of May, Friday – Sunday. LEMON FESTIVAL in Ilah Santana mid- month, again over a weekend. BOOK FESTIVAL in Funchal around the last 10 days of the month, and at the same time the Festa de Sé bringing a great open air feel to the Cathedral area of Funchal.
June is one of the busiest months of the year. The ATLANTIC FESTIVAL runs through the whole of the month, with the international firework display on all 4 Saturday evenings. CHERRY FESTIVAL is mid-month in Jardim da Serra. ARTMAR FESTIVAL in Camara de Lobos at the beginning of month brings Portuguese musicians to the island. CLASSIC CAR RALLY is normally mid-month. FESTA DA ESPADA, Camara de Lobos is month end with Fireworks on the last night. June also brings the Saints’ days: Santo Antonio on the 12th, São João on the 24th and São Pedro on the 29th. Many events happen around these dates with lots of festivals and beach parties. The night before São João, people flock to the beaches for parties with food and drink then at midnight have the traditional midnight swim. Other big festivals include São Pedro in Ribeira Brava, and in Santa Cruz. These go on for a week to the run up of the main day.