We are in June and June is a month of huge celebrations and festivities. Portugal celebrates all the Popular Saints, Lisbon celebrates Santo António (13th of June) by organizing the 'Festas de Lisboa': free events, concerts, street theatre, and a lot of parties.
There are three words you need to know to better understand the Festas de Lisboa:
1. ARRAIAL: Arraiais (local festivals) are everywhere. In fact, almost each parish organizes its own "Arraial". Streets decorated with lights and colorful flags/baloons, live music (especially pimba), a lot of traditional food and drink. Arraiais are all different and offer interesting events such as open air movie sessions, activities for families with kids and live fado (traditional portuguese music). Other words related to an ARRAIAL that you need to know: IMPERIAL (20cl beer), SARDINHA ASSADA (roasted sardine), BIFANA (fried pork sandwiches), PIMBA (popular music), CALDO VERDE (cabbage soup)...Ok, now you're almost ready to go to an arraial! Check here the complete list for this year! A special tip: don't miss the one at Vila Berta.
2. MARCHA POPULAR: THE Parade, with capital P. Months of rehearsal, typical songs, traditional costumes and a lot of competition. Parade of popular marches along Avenida da Liberdade (from Marquês do Pombal) is simply stunning. Who will win this year? Go there and cheer up for your parish!
3. MANJERICO: according to the tradition, lovers offer to their special ones a little potted plant of newly sprouted basil. Beside the plant itself, lovers can pick the color of the paper-mache flower to go along with it and a small paper flag with poems about love or about Lisbon festivities (QUADRAS). Just a remark, you can't smell the basil directly, the correct way to smell manjerico is by delicately touching the plant and then smell your hand.
Now that you know the three key words, you are ready to enjoy Lisbon's atmosphere. Check the complete program and don't miss anything!!!