Festivals and Events in Portugal
A country rich in culture and history, almost every village in Portugal has its own festival to celebrate the local saint’s day. Ranging from small family gatherings to massive celebrations that attract visitors from all over the world – these are some of the best of Portugal’s festivals.
One of the most vibrant and colourful festivals in Portugal, the streets come alive during Carnival. Think bright, bold costumes and masks, dancing and theatrical performances, and elaborate floats that take weeks to build for the event. It usually takes place on Shrove Tuesday every year and is a party not to be missed on the Portuguese calendar.
Easter, or Holy Week as it is also known, is an important time for the Portuguese. It’s the perfect time to visit the country to see the unique Portuguese cultural traditions. Several torchlight processions take place throughout villages across Portugal. Each town or region will have their own special traditions to celebrate Holy Week though folk dancing and fireworks are often a feature. Easter means spending time with family in Portugal and feasting on folar (a traditional bread) and roasted lamb.
Portugal National Day
Portugal day is held on the 10th of June every year and commemorates the death of national literary icon Luis de Camoes on the same date in 1580. This holiday is celebrated by Portuguese citizens and emigrants across the world. They take the day to celebrate Portuguese culture and remember the history of their beautiful country with parades, concerts and military ceremonies.
St Anthony’s Day
Every year on June 13th in the city of Lisbon, the feast day of St. Anthony is celebrated to commemorate the death of the saint in 1231. St. Anthony is also known as Anthony of Lisbon and the patron saint of Portugal. In his hometown of Lisbon, festivities begin the night before as a parade of singers, musicians and dancers take to the streets. The next day it continues with more parades and traditional Portuguese dancing.
St John’s Day
St John’s Day celebrates the birthday of the great saint. In Porto, you can expect large parties where people quite uniquely hit each over on the head with plastic hammers – don’t worry, it’s harmless. This takes place the night before the national holiday. On June 23rd the city comes alive and in true Portuguese style, the party lasts long into the night. St. John's Day is also big in the city of Braga where you can expect to see folk dramas, illuminations, dancing, music and poems.