Easter on Madeira – let’s play Balamento

Easter on Madeira – let’s play Balamento

Easter on Madeira

Easter is one of the most important religious times on Madeira. Besides the strictly religious aspect of the festivities, Easter is also a time for gastronomy on the island.  However, next to the religious traditions and the unique gastronomy, did you know that before Easter, you play Balamento on Madeira?

Easter Tradition

Balamento game Madeira

Balamento is one of the many traditions which tend to disappear or begin to be forgotten.  During the time leading up to Easter, it was customary to play balamento with the neighbors, with friends or even amongst family member.  It can be played, twice or even up to three times per day: morning, afternoon and evening. This game is also played in the Azores.

The game

Two (or more) people agree to play together and the aim to say balamento to the opponent first.  It is thus necessary to catch you counterpart of guard or sneak up on them to say “balamento!”.  The first person who says the word on each day wins one point.  Players agree to play during a certain number of days or to reach a certain number of points.  The loser offers chocolate covered sweet almonds, Easter eggs or other sweets to the winner.  In the end, sweets are enjoyed together anyway.

Oral tradition

Some argue as to the word that is called out between balamento, belamente or balamente.  However, in the end, the only thing that matters is that this sweet tradition remains and passes from generation to generation.

Let’s keep oral tradition alive!  Happy Easter to you all.