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What is Portugal’s Caretos Carnival?

What is Portugal’s Caretos Carnival? - portugal news
What is Portugal’s Caretos Carnival? - Portugal Business News

Portugal tourism news - What is Portugal’s Caretos Carnival and what does Chocalheiro Entrudo mean?

Portugal’s enigmatic Caretos of Podence with their antics and rattling, while running down the streets and pretending to attack the “matrafonas”, that are men posing as shabbily dressed women who have been unjustly attacked, is a unique cultural experience to be discovered with families.

Portugal’s Caretos Carnival starts on a Saturday with a parade that culminates with the "Burning of the Devil", in the Cavaleiro Ferreira square, accompanied by a show of trapped fire. While the Caretos of Podence jump in the air and try to catch girls or ladies to rattle them, their antics go all the way to Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. For the Closing the Carnival of Caretos on Ash Wednesday, the streets of the historic center of Podence recreate a secular Portuguese tradition with the characters of the Devil, Death and Censorship, where these three characters try to strike fear and animation through the streets of the historic area of Bragança. Portugal’s Caretos Carnival also includes the "Burning of the Mascareto", a figure that is seven meters high that is symbolically set on fire in the citadel, near the Castle of Bragança.

Portugal’s Shrovetide Carnival in Podence, that is located in the district of Bragança in north-eastern Portugal, is also known as the Caretos Carnival and the Chocalheiro Entrudo. In Portugal, the Shrovetide Carnival is marked by the antics of the Caretos who run down the streets of the village of Podence to strike fear and mark the beginning of Lent.

Portugal’s Caretos Carnival is so unique that it attracts thousands of visitors from all over Portugal as well as tourists and the Carnival of Podence Winter Festivals have been recognized by UNESCO in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Tourists who choose to explore Portugal’s cultural heritage can also visit the museum Casa do Careto in Podence.

Caretos of Podence, Portugal - Portugal News
Caretos of Podence, Portugal - Portugal Business News

What does Chocalheiro Entrudo mean?

The Caretos Carnival of the village of Podence in Portugal is called Chocalheiro Entrudo since “chocalhos” means the “rattles” that are used to make noise and scare the public while “entrudo” means “Shrovetide Carnival”. The Portuguese version of the Shrovetide Carnival marks the moment when the colorful Caretos of the village of Podence run after villagers and frighten them.

What are the Caretos of Podence?

The Portuguese Shrovetide Carnival in the village of Podence, in north-eastern Portugal, centers around the Caretos, a group of colorful characters who are meant to be frightening.

What is the costume of the Caretos of Podence?

The costume of the Caretos of Podence is made of colorful hand-dyed “little house” quilts that are typical of the Portuguese Trás-os-Montes region and that are woven in the village. The costume is filled with rows of fringes made of sheep's wool and usually has three colors, namely yellow, green and red, referring to the colors of the Portuguese flag.

The Caretos of Podence costume is completed with colorful masks, as well as two bell bandoliers that cross the front of the torso and back, and a set of 4 to 8 rattles that go around the waist. The bells and rattles produce the sound associated with Caretos, to strike fear at their arrival and rattle people. Sometimes a cane or a stick with a rounded and protruding tip also serves as support for the Caretos performance, since it is used to elevate the body when jumping, or to steal the sausages that are cooking.

When is Portugal’s Caretos Carnival?

In 2024, Portugal’s Caretos Carnival celebrations for Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras start on Saturday 10th of February and culminate on Tuesday 13th.



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