If you are at a loose end today, and the weather is looking great, why not head to Chão da Ribeira for this yearly festival.
As usually happens on the last Sunday of January, families who own land and Palheiros in Chão da Ribeira, in the upper part of the parish of Seixal, today promote the traditional ‘Panelo’, a gathering that joins around the improvised table of a ‘ bed of cabbages and laurel ‘a large number of Madeirans, from all corners of the island. In fact, “Panelo has already left Seixal”, as revealed to the ‘Diário das Freguesias’ Luísa Novais, referring to the growing number of outsiders who visit this location on this day.
This meeting, which started out as being very residual and local, has been gaining such prominence that, in recent years, there are those who see it as a Madeiran camp, contrary to what is its genesis.
However, the president of the Junta de Freguesia do Seixal, stresses that “it is not a camp, but small private parties, on private land”, stressing that in view of the growing number of outsiders, “often, the seixaleiros prefer to do the your panelo on another day, or a weekend before, or a weekend after, thus escaping the confusion ”, including some owners of Chão da Ribeira who rent their Palheiros this day.
Even so, the mayor stresses the fact that the tradition of always sharing the food there is maintained, even though today the meal is no longer limited to the products of the land and the meat left over from the Christmas Festivities.
Recognising, moreover, the importance of this date for the people of the parish, and even for those who come from outside, the Junta proceeded to clean several paths in that place, in order to facilitate the access to the different lands and Palheiros.
In addition, the Porto Moniz City Council, recognising, also, the large number of people who walk around on this day, puts some portable toilets in some areas, giving the minimum conditions so that they can have an even more pleasant day .
Not sure what a Palheiro is ? It is a small hut for storing hay or even the animals, now many have been converted to holiday homes in Chão da Ribeira , making this one of the most unique valleys on the island.