Santos Populares in Lisbon

June is the month of festivities and celebrations for the Popular Saints. All the country celebrates the nights of St. Anthony, St. John, and St. Peter. The main ones are the Festas de Lisboa, on the 12th and 13th of June, St. Anthony’s day, and St. John’s Day in Oporto on the night of 23/24th of June.

Back to the past

The celebration of the famous St. Anthony would take us to medieval times. However, we don’t need to travel so far in the past to find worthy records.In 1932 the first Marchas Populares happened in Lisbon, promoted by Diário de Notícias and Notícias Ilustrado. The festivities take place in Alfama, Alcântara, Alto do Pina, Bairro Alto, Madragoa, and Campo de Ourique. Two years later in 1934, organized by the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, the event happened again, becoming a tradition all over Portugal.

Celebrating in Lisbon

In the capital, although St. Vicent is the Patron of Lisbon, St. Anthony is the mos known saint His image drives the festivities, when people with colourful characters in costume, from every neighbourhood, parades down Avenida da Liberdade on the 12th of June, filling this major road with folk music, and throngs of spectators.

On the next day, the 13th of June, the St. Anthony’s Procession is a mark, which starts from the church by the Sé in Alfama, a place where the saint might be born around 1193. The matchmaker’s fame pursues him, and every year, various couples participate in the St. Anthony’s Marriages, hoping the saint blesses their union.

Around the city, typical food and music will take place on every corner. All the city is decorated, many restaurants offer special menus and every neighbourhood hosts their own parties. All traditional “Freguesias”, such as Alfama, Santos, Campo de Ourique, and so on, are great places to enjoy these amazing days. At Bairro Alto specifically, the crowd gets together at one of the most crowded places in the city for the festivities.

If you want to celebrate this famous holiday in a chill way, there are many options. But, if you want to join the crowd and party through the streets, Bairro Alto is the right place to go.

Festivities in Oporto

If you are in Oporto or at least planning to go there, the city is also a place for exciting events for the Popular Saints. Stay tuned to the next article to understand how this holiday is celebrated over there.

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