Broas and Pão-por-Deus!

1. “Oh tia, dá Pão-por-Deus? Se não tem, Dê-lho Deus!”. In November 1st, me and my cousin M., and sometimes another kids who lived around, screamed this loud and clearly at people’s doors, so the oldest could hear us and give us some treats. That is Pão-por-Deus, a portuguese tradition, celebrated in November 1st, known as Dia de Todos os Santos, or Dia dos Defuntos (Día de Muertos, in Mexico), and has some similarities to Halloween, since they’ve both came from the same ancestral Europe beliefs.

When I was a funny ten year old kid, the treat of Pão-por-Deus was usually broas, the holy grail of this time. It also was usual to give nuts, almonds and chestnuts, all fruits typical from this time of the year. Of course, we’d get some candies too, like lollypops, chocolate and gums.

Broas is typical baked cookies which are made with flour, fennel, honey and other spices, or sweet potato and pumpkin in some regions of Portugal. It also has nuts, pine nuts or raisins. 2.When I was little, it was always my grandmother who baked broas. But she passed away and left some of her secret recipes with my mother and aunt. For some years, we didn’t make them. It was painful thinking that grandma’ wasn’t with us anymore, and wouldn’t be her broas that we would eat…

One day, maybe in one of our family lunches, I’m not really sure; we decided to try to do them. And I’m so glad that we did! At first it was a ‘bit difficult, since we didn’t know how to use a wood-fired oven. But practice leads to perfection. And now, at this time of the year, most women of our family get together and spend a whole day chattering, baking and eating broas.

3. 4.

I would like to see my niece in this family tradition too, since she hasn’t the opportunity yet. And for the boys, well… they are invited too, but forbidden to enter in the wood oven house! Wherever my grandma’ is, I think she’s happy for us, to see that we’ve made it. Despite she’s not physically present, she’s always with us. And this day, better than any day else, we, I, feel her very close to me…

5.So, what are you waiting for to bake some broas as well? This is the perfect day to start your Pão-por-Deus tradition!


“Oh tia, dá Pão-por-Deus? Se não tem, Dê-lho Deus!”. A 1º de Novembro eu e a minha prima, e de vez em quando outros miúdos, gritávamos e batíamos à porta das pessoas velhotas para receber uns docinhos. Isso é o Pão-por-Deus, uma tradição bem Portuguesa celebrada nesse dia, também conhecido como Dia de Todos os Santos ou Dia dos Defuntos (Día de Muertos no México). Tem algumas semelhanças com o Halloween já que ambos vieram das mesmas crenças ancestrais Europeias.

Quando eu tinha 10 anos, o meu Pão-por-Deus era broas, o santo graal desta época. Também era usual receber nozes, castanhas, frutos secos. E claro de vez em quando uns doces como chupa-chupas, chocolates e gomas.

Lembro-me da minha avó fazer broas; deixou a receita à minha mãe e tia e por alguns anos elas não fizeram broas, já que era doloroso não ter a minha avó presente. Numa reunião familiar lá alguém disse que devíamos dar-nos uma oportunidade e tentar fazer broas também. E felizmente que assim foi! Agora é hábito juntar-nos todas na casa de forno da minha mãe e passarmos um dia a fazer broas. Gostaria de ver a minha sobrinha presente nestas tradições, já que ela ainda não teve a oportunidade de se juntar a nós. Quanto aos rapazes… Eles também estão convidados, mas proibidos de entrarem na casa do forno. Onde quer que a minha avó esteja, penso que esteja orgulhosa de todas nós. E mesmo que não esteja presente fisicamente, está espiritualmente.

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10 thoughts on “Broas and Pão-por-Deus!

  1. Visiting your blog because of pumpkin recipes. These cookies look wonderful. I now have the task of finding a recipe to try out. I did see a sweet potato version but the cookies don’t look as nice. It is nice that your family continues your grandma’s tradition and is passing it on to the next generation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lynne! Good luck for your task! If you don’t find any broas recipe tell me and I’ll send you one 😉
      Yes, we try to keep this tradition in our family. Sometimes is difficult to gather everybody at the same time, but nevertheless, is worth it!

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    1. Yes, that is true. We can translate Pão-por-Deus for “Bread for God”; people (ancient times) used to bake broas and give them to the poor in this time of the year, since they were the ones to knock people’s door begging for some food.
      And there are other connections with the day (people used to bake this and give them to the death). Ancient and old things. Today is completely different and kids love it. And so do I love to go for Pão-por-Deus with my nephews! 😀

      Like

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