Visiting Lisbon in June is a sign of little boredom given the vast and diverse cultural program. Miscellaneous concerts. Theater. Race. Homage to the poet Fernando Pessoa through initiatives at Casa Fernando Pessoa and Lisboa Pessoa Hotel. Arraial and sardines. Fireworks. Wine, popular music, marches and dancers.
Lisbon festivities: Santo António Festival Program
The programming for the month of June is vast and starts on the 1st, with free admission concerts by the riverside “Songs of a Summer Night”, in Terreiro do Paço, at 22:00, with Ana Bacalhau, António Zambujo, Aurea, Conan Osiris and Marta Ren, accompanied by the Orquestra Pop Portuguesa.
From June 1st to July 2nd, popular saints are celebrated in fairs held in various spaces such as Alcântara, Belém, Benfica, Carnide, Estrela, Misericórdia, Olivais, São Vicente and Santa Maria Maior (which includes Sacramento, Chiado ). Arraial dos Navegantes is an alternative, during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of June, in Parque das Nações. Arraial da Vila Berta, from the 2nd to the 12th. The Telheiras neighborhood with a program from the 2nd to the 11th of June. Arraiais spread across Lisbon from end to wick.
For those who don’t miss a race, the Corrida de Santo António will start at 09:00 on June 4th, at Praça do Império, in Belém (10 kilometres).
A Portuguese party without Fado is not a party. There will be Fado at the Castle on the 16th of June, from 21:30, in the Praça de Armas of Castelo de São Jorge, with a performance by Sara Correia and Stereossauro, and on the 17th of June with Katia Guerreiro and Jaca.
The Santo António weddings are a tradition that takes place on the 12th of June, at the Lisbon Cathedral and at the Salão Nobre of the Paços do Concelho. The popular marches, with the parade on Avenida da Liberdade.
But the party also extends to the theater. Teatro São Luiz will stage the theatrical music show “100 Amália” on the 11th. Casa Fernando Pessoa promotes, on the 13th, to mark the 135th anniversary of the poet’s birth, readings of texts by the Theater Group of the Faculty of Letters in Lisbon, staged by Marcantonio del Carlo.
The Lisboa Pessoa Hotel also pays homage to the poet with an initiative, launched to Urban Sketchers, called “Designing Pessoa’s Lisbon”. This will take place on the 13th of June, on the terraces of the Mensagem restaurant, from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Sold out edition with 28 authors already registered. Free entry for those who want to observe and record the moment, subject to space capacity.
On the 29th of June, classical music will fill the garden of the Belém Tower, with the Sinfonieta de Lisboa joining the voices of the Summer Festival Choir and Cecília Rodrigues (soprano), Carolina Figueiredo (alto), Carlos Guilherme (tenor) and Luís Rodrigues (bass).
Closing the festivities, on June 30, Miguel Araújo will be at the center of the closing show “Dance on a Summer Day, with Bárbara Tinoco, Os Quatro e Meia and Tatanka, in the garden of Torre de Belém, at the same time.
Party and entertainment abound! Stay in a hotel in Lisbon so you don’t miss a thing.
If you want to understand a little of the history of this popular festival, here are some notes.
How the tradition of the Popular Festivals of Lisbon was born
On June 12, 1932, the Lisbon newspaper published the news announcing the popular festival. But, the tradition, as we know it today, was created thanks to the filmmaker, José Leitão de Barros, who that year invited several collectivities to present their shows. Two years later, the parade finally took to the streets. There were Arraiais and sardines.
The party was back in the city, after many years without any kind of celebration, since 1916.
Who was Santo António, the patron saint of the city
Santo António, was born at the beginning of the 12th century, near the Sé, in Lisbon, as Fernando Bulhões.
Protector of home and family, protector of boyfriends and married couples, a precious help to find lost objects, there were many attributes that made him popular.
He studied in Coimbra, where he decided to abandon the rule of Saint Augustine and join the Order of Saint Francis, then moving to the Convent of Santo Atão dos Olivais, where he adopted the name António in honor of the hermit (the Latin name of Atão is Antonius).
It was in that year that he left for Morocco to preach the scriptures, and on the way back to Portugal he was diverted to Italy by a storm. He lived in Padua until his death on the 13th of June. His death instituted the first date of the feasts. But there was a period when the capital’s commemorations were held at two different times: on June 13, the date of Saint Anthony’s death, and February 15, the day he was transferred to Padua’s cathedral.
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