Portugal Pavilion hosts traditional Carnival show “Caretos de Podence”

The Portugal Pavilion came to life with the colours and sounds of Carnival this Saturday, March 12, with a unique show by the Caretos de Podence – a pre-historic religious ritual that celebrates the end of Winter and the arrival of Spring.


Expo visitors flocked to the Portugal Pavilion Square to witness this ancestral tradition from the small village of Podence, in northern Portugal, which is considered the most authentic Carnival in Portugal.


The Caretos are masked men who, during the Carnival, wear rudimentary masks made of either leather or ordinary tin, and colourful costumes made of wool. The colours of their garments and masks – red, black, yellow, green – contrast with the darkness of wintertime in Portugal, and their presence is announced by the sound of the cowbells which they carry around their waist and on their shoulders.


Reproducing a festive atmosphere that carries the audience back to ancient times and rituals, the Carnival of Podence differs from most urban parades and is therefore one of the country’s most unique traditions.


The element “Winter Festivities: Carnival of Podence” was inscribed on the 12th of December 2019, on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO), during the 14th Intergovernmental Committee of the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting, in Bogotá, Colombia.