Hang the expense! Funchal to be lit by 1.6 million lights this festive season
Image: Homem de Gouveia/ Lusa

Hang the expense! Funchal to be lit by 1.6 million lights this festive season

Only ‘concession’ to energy crisis is they turn off at 1am, not 2am… most of the time

With witterings on the mainland about ‘saving energy’ with reduced Christmas light displays, Funchal, Madeira, has come out with all guns blazing.

The regional secretariat of tourism and culture has today announced that “about 1.6 million lights will be switched on from December 1, marking the beginning of Christmas and New Year celebrations that will run until January 8.

The announcement barely acknowledges the ‘constraints’ of rising energy prices, stressing streets buildings and different parts of the city will be bathed in festive cheer, along with various ‘novelties’, like video mapping (on the corner of the Cathedral and north wall of the Palace of São Lourenço); a 30-metre high Christmas tree in CR7 square, which will also (amazingly) “function as a photobooth”.

Funchal pier won’t be forgotten either – it will be offering “an electronically animated tunnel” providing visitors with “a walk between the waters towards an angel”; while other spaces of the city “will have different interactive technologies, namely augmented reality, which, “through a mobile application, will present animated Christmas figures synchronised with music”.

Some places will have sensory technologies that trigger different animations in the lighting with the presence or passage of people, adds Lusa.

Basically, it will be a festive fandango; hang the expense; don’t talk about the war; just have a good time.

According to reports, lights will switch on everyday at 6pm (switching off an hour earlier than usual “in order to reduce energy consumption”).

But even this concession has its exceptions: December 23, 24 and 31, will see all lights switched on through the wee small hours until 6am on the following days, and on December 25 and 30 they will be kept on until 4am.

Lusa stresses that the regional tourism office “has been concerned about energy consumption for several years, pointing out that the electricity bill consumed by Christmas lights in Madeira’s capital has been reduced by around 70% in 10 years, “as a result of the growing focus on ever more economical and environmentally friendly lights”.

“This situation did not imply a decrease in the distribution of lights. On the contrary, it has even registered growth and innovations every year”.

So, cost? Do we have ANY IDEA how much this season of good cheer and plentiful light will be costing the regional government?

“The regional government has launched two public tenders, worth a total of €3.9 million (including VAT), for the design, construction, assembly and dismantling of the Christmas and New Year’s Eve lights in 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 and Carnival lights in the next two years”, says Lusa – adding the lights are the responsibility of companies LuxStar, Iluminações Teixeira Couto and Castros – Iluminações Festivas.

Source: Lusa