Lisbon | Events and Festivals

Lisbon’s month of celebrations:

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Lisbon Old Town

June is Festas de Lisboa and during this month of festivities there will be street entertainment, cinema, music and theatre, parades and folk festivities happening throughout the historic districts and all around town.

If you like Fado music, there’s a Fado festival with the best names in town performing.  If you don’t know what Fado is, catch a tram along the route of the nº 28 tram and you’ll be able to listen to Amateur Fado live, with singers performing the most traditional and typical Fado. The tram route travels from Martim Moniz to Prazeres, passing through Graça, Alfama, Bica and Bairro Alto, neighbourhoods which have a long association with the Fado tradition.  There’s no extra charge for the entertainment.

In June, the people of Lisbon also celebrate their various saint’s day with processions, music, dancing and food. For the celebrations, the city is fully decorated in colourful paper garlands and there’s parties happening around the various districts in the city from Castelo to Mouraria, Graça to Alfama, and Ajuda to Bairro Alto, culminating on the eve of St.  Anthony’s Day with the grand Avenida da Liberdade parade.

The Saints

  • St. Anthony (June 13)
  • St. John (June 23-24)
  • St. Peter (June 28-29))

Celebration traditions

St. Anthony is Lisbon’s patron saint and also saint for matchmaking.  In honour of St. Anthony, and as an exchange of affection, people present each other with little pots of basil and paper carnations on which they write poems. All the districts have their own parade and everywhere there’s music and dancing. The most popular districts for evening parties are the Alfama and Mouraria.  It’s not a good time for sardines though as everywhere you’ll see people grilling sardines outside their homes and the narrow streets fill up people in party mood.

The big St. Anthony’s folk parade (known as the Marchas Populares) takes place on the night of  June 12th, the eve of St. Anthony’s Day.  All Lisbon clubs and associations descend on Avenida de Liberdade to compete for the honour of being the best parade for music, costume, and choreography. There is an award for the best parade.  Luckily, St. Anthony’s Day is a public holiday.

São João (St. John) is  the most revered saint of Oporto and on June 24th the northern city has its lively celebrations which coincides with the summer solstice.  There’s music, eating, drinking, dancing and spectacular fireworks over the Duoro river.

On June 29th, there’s more celebrations for São Pedro (St. Peter’s Day ).  There’s a boat procession on the Tagus and ceremonies which date back to the Middle Ages.

What about you? What are your thoughts on this subject?

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