Popular Saints in Portugal
“Smells good, it smells like Lisbon !!”
In the capital, Saint Anthony is the city’s patron saint. This figure, wearing a brown cloak and holding baby Jesus is the one that gives the motto to the party. The celebrations peek at the 12th of June, with the Popular Marches parade along Avenida da Liberdade. Alfama, Graça, Marvila, Bica, Mouraria or Madragoa: each neighbourhood goes down the avenue in a parade of choreographies, colours, music and elaborated outfits to match the occasion.
The other special moment happens on the next day, when the Saint Anthony’s procession leaves the church next to Alfama’s main church — from the place where the saint was born around 1193 — to parade all over the city, blessing the poor, the homeless . .. and the boyfriends and girlfriends and the future couples-to-be. The saint’s matchmaker fame is always present, and every year, dozens of brides and grooms get married at Saint Anthony’s weddings, hoping that the saint will bless their union.
“Saint John, give me a balloon !!”
In the North of the country, around Porto’s city, from the 23rd to the 24th of June, the festivities are also celebrated in the most traditional neighbourhoods.
When it comes to the celebrations, Porto has its own costumes. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a hammer on the head: it’s usual to hit with a plastic hammer on the head of the revellers that join the party.
However, the higher point of the celebrations is much more harmless and much more surprising: the fireworks start at midnight and hot air balloons go up over Douro’s river, ending up being one of the most beautiful celebrations in the Popular Festivities.
For many brave ones, the night ends near the beach to watch the sunrise or in a morning swim in the sea — just like the tradition tells them to !!
Saint Peter closes the festivities
To close the festivities of the great month of June, Saint Peter — the fisherman’s patron saint — is celebrated on the 29th of June in some piscatorial villages like Sintra — one of the places on the list of the Historical World Heritage. In some other places like Évora, the festivities are celebrated twice, since it receives Saint John’s fair’s since the 16th century, but it also commemorates Saint Peter as a local holiday.
It doesn’t matter in which part of the country you are, because there are traditions that never change like jumping over the fireplace and couples giving the traditional basil plant to each other with creative love rhymes — this festivities used to be connected to the beginning of the summer and to old fertility rituals.
So, don’t forget. When you’re in Portugal to celebrate the Popular Festivities, you have to feel like celebrating . .. and you have to learn to make crazy and creative rhymes !!
PortoBay Liberdade in the centre of everything !!
At Rosa Araújo Street, 30 meters away from Avenida da Liberdade where the Popular parade happens, PortoBay Liberdade is the perfect boutique hotel for you to rest after days and nights of celebrations.
This famous Lisbon avenue surrounded by some the of the most luxurious streets in the world is back to its origins for a few days and receives thousands of people that get together to watch the parade: just like a real outdoor Brazilian sambódromo !!
This oasis allows you to enjoy even more the party mood that is lived all over the city. Don’t wait any longer . .. The celebrations are about to begin !!