FESTIVALS OF SANTO ANTÓNIO DE LISBOA
June is the month of the Popular Saints – Santo António, São João and São Pedro – it is a month in which all over the country festivals and festivals are held dedicated to these “popular saints”.
The main festivals in Lisbon take place from the 12th to the 13th of June, and celebrate Santo António and are the most popular event in the Portuguese capital.
These are festivities full of entertainment, in which Lisboners go out into the street to celebrate their Patron Saint (note that Lisbon has São Vicente de Fora as its main patron). Thousands of tourists, Portuguese and foreigners, join these fabulous popular festivities, transforming them into an even grander event.
The high point of the festivities comes with the Popular Marches, on the night of June 12th, which have been held since 1932. Each neighborhood in the city parades along Avenida da Liberdade, with dozens of people dressed up, lots of music and color, competing for the annual victory. In this avenue, in addition to the hundreds of extras, the endless color and music, there is an immense crowd that watches this beautiful spectacle in ecstasy.
The entertainment continues until daybreak, singing, dancing and eating, in the festivals that take place in the typical neighborhoods of Lisbon: Alfama, Graça, Bica, Mouraria or Madragoa. The squares and medieval alleys of these Popular Neighborhoods are decked with arches, and colorful balloons, and the air is perfumed by the odor of "basil", a basil vase, which also has a carnation made of paper and a small flag with messages, which must be offered to girlfriends. The smell of grilled sardines and broth still lingers in the air, as well as bread with chorizo and red wine.
On the 13th of June, the most important moments take place in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Lisbon: the Procession and the Weddings of Santo António.
The procession that leaves the church located in Alfama next to the Cathedral of Lisbon – the place where this saint was born around 1193.
The Weddings of Santo António, which have taken place since 1958, and which were initially held on the 13th, and which have been held for a few years now on the 12th.
The Festas de Lisboa do not end with the traditional festivities! There are events and initiatives for all tastes: literature, sports, theater plays, exhibitions, and above all lots of music (innumerable outdoor jazz and fado concerts). Fall in love with the Festas de Lisboa!