Missas do Parto 16-24th December are:
“a celebration of the pregnancy of the Virgin Mary. As such, there are 9 Childbirth masses.
The traditions surrounding the celebration of Christmas Season in Madeira and Porto Santo Island are numerous.
Missas do Parto (Childbirth Mass) are one of the oldest religious mass celebrations of this archipelago.
This masses take place is every churches nine days before Christmas. It’s a celebration of the pregnancy of the Virgin Mary which finishes on the 24th December with the midnight mass (Missa do Galo). Each of the nine days represent one month of the pregnancy.
Missas do Parto are celebrated very early in the morning, in the transition from night to day in order to symbolize the fact that Jesus is the light that comes into the world.
These are preparation masses for Christmas and are attended by a great number of people, both in the religious ritual and in the pagan gatherings outside church.
The mass is usually accompanied by a chorus and traditional instruments such as rajão, braguinha and castanholas…”
source: http://www.madeirarural. com