June Festivities in Lisbon
June is one of the most lively, colourful and fun times to be in Portugal’s capital. The month is full of festivals and celebrations with the city’s biggest festival, the Feast of Saint Anthony, taking place on 12th & 13th June. Saint Anthony is the Patron Saint of Lisbon so in celebration of his life and work Lisboetas (people from Lisbon) take to the streets with parties, parades, feasts and dancing and the city is decorated with colourful bunting and streamers. There are several key events and activities that take place each day of the celebration:
The Brides of Saint Anthony
In addition to being the Patron Saint of Lisbon and the Patron Saint of lost things, in Portugal Saint Anthony is also the Patron Saint of marriages and a long held tradition in Lisbon is to hold mass marriages on the eve of his Saint’s Day.
Each year couples across the city enter a lottery in the hopes of being selected as one of the sixteen lucky couples to marry in the large ceremony in Lisbon’s cathedral on the eve of Feast of Saint Anthony. Lisbon City Council pay for the couples to marry as well as for the rings, wedding dress and honeymoon and the couples are interviewed and filmed as they marry.
Popular Marches – Avenida Liberdade
The Avenida Liberdade is one of Lisbon’s largest and most prestigious streets making it the perfect location for the city’s most lively parade. The ‘Popular Marches’ is a parade that unites the city with people from all neighbourhoods congregating in the centre of Lisbon to watch the colourful costumes, passionate dancers and festive musical acts make their way along Avenida Liberdade from the Marques de Pombal roundabout to Rossio Square. Spectators look on and cheer whilst enjoying food and drinks and the event is live streamed on local and national channels.
No celebration is truly complete without some delicious food to accompany it. During the festivals of Saint Anthony you will find street vendors selling grilled sardines, a testament to the humble life lived by Saint Anthony and also a delicious dish as, thanks to its coastal location, Lisbon has access to fresh seafood.
Manjericos are colourful paper basil plants and carnations that are sold on stalls across the city in the run up to the festival. The carnation conceals a love poem and men gift the plants to loved ones.
After the parades and official celebrations, Lisboetas head to their own neighbourhoods to celebrate with music, dances and drinks. Each neighbourhood celebrates in its own way and if you venture around the Chiado, Barrio Alto or Alfama districts, you will be met with colourful and lively parties.
After an evening of merriment, the Feast Day marks the religious aspects of the festival and is a bank holiday in Lisbon. The day’s most important event is the procession that makes its way through Lisbon’s Alfama quarter. In the late afternoon the procession begins at the Santo António church and participants parade a large of effigy of Saint Anthony across Lisbon. As the cavalcade makes its way through the streets, they are joined by processions from other churches carrying figures of their own saints.
In addition to the celebrations surrounding the Feast of St Anthony, there are festivities throughout the month of June with parties, food markets and music events taking place around the city.
We have a number of hotels in Lisbon including the Pousada de Lisbon in the heart of the city on Praço do Comércio square and the wonderful Pestana Palace Hotel, located in Belem where you will find some of Lisbon’s most interesting monuments including the Saint Jeronimos Monastery, the Belem Tower and the Discoveries Monument. We also have a wide selection of Keytel Hotels throughout the city.