Learn Portuguese in Lisbon Home » Cultural Activities » Santo António e as Festas Populares

Santo António e as Festas Populares

Just like all cities have a saint, Lisbon has Santo António (Saint Anthony), also known as the saint of marriage. According to the legend, Saint Anthony helped and facilitated young couples with match making and marriage preparations.

The 13th of June is an annual day of feasting and celebration in the name of Saint Anthony and is a public holiday in Lisbon. The day is marked by wide spread festivities and celebrations throughout the city and a grand parade through the city centre. In honour of Saint Anthony, the city promotes and funds marriages for hundreds of couples, who afterwards take part in the main parade down the Avenue of Liberty.

The various parades through the city have to be seen to be believed, involving thousands of people having worked for months on end preparing elaborate costumes and detailed choreography. The atmosphere is ecstatic, with thousands of people lining the streets for a glimpse at the spectacle.

In virtually every corner of the city you'll find people eating Portugal's famous roasted sardines (sardinhas assadas na brasa) and Caldo Verde, a delicious traditional soup of cabbage and chorizo. Midnight is marked by a spectacular fireworks display, but by this time the party is only just getting started. The festivities continue well into the following day, particularly in the more traditional bairros such as Alfama.

The entire city is literally one big party. If your travel plans allow it, don't miss the opportunity to partake in this incredible event!

Com os Santos Populares
Começam os nossos arraiais
O Santo António é o primeiro
Que dá amor a todos os casais.

É assim até ao romper do sol
Com marchas e foguetes no ar
Manjericos em todas as janelas
Sardinhas quentes para provar.