Saint Anthony of Lisbon celebrations
Saint Anthony of Lisbon celebrations are one of the city’s main highlights and include parades, dancing, eating, drinking, music and even a marriage.
Saint Anthony’s Parade
Saint Anthony is the patron of Lisbon and the city celebrates him with the municipality holiday on June 13. However, Saint Anthony of Lisbon celebrations start on the eve of June 12 and they are one of the Portuguese capital’s highlights, attracting not just locals, proud to honor the saint of their devotion, but also tourists from all over the world.
Celebrations usually start around 10 o’clock in the evening of June 12 with a magnificent parade held on Avenida da Liberdade, the most important avenue of the city. Groups of marchers – each one representing a Lisbon’s district – came down the avenue, dancing to the sound of popular tunes especially written for the event, competing for the title of Melhor Marcha do Ano (Best Marcher’s Group of the Year). Besides the elaborated choreographies marchers carried out, they conquer the audience with the colorful and rich handmade costumes. The parade ends with a fireworks show.
Yet, celebrations continue throughout the entire city with traditional dancing all night long. To help you endure the long hours of partying, on the traditional districts of city like Alfama, Mouraria or Bairro Alto are served grilled sardines, pork steaks and caldo verde soup with a glass of Portuguese wine or a refreshing “imperial” Lisbon’s draft beer.
Saint Anthony of Lisbon is also the saint patron of marriage. Therefore, his celebrations are also the celebration of love; so, if you are in Lisbon during this event, don’t forget to buy your girlfriend a “Manjerico” (a vase with basil, decorated with four verses of popular poetry) as a proof of your feelings for her.
Remember that to enjoy the manjerico scent you shouldn’t smell it directly, otherwise it will die; instead, put your hand on top of it and then smell your hand.
Noivos de Santo António
In order to celebrate the matchmaker side of St. Anthony, on June 13th Lisbon municipality organizes Noivos de Santo António (Grooms and Brides of St. Anthony), offering a free wedding at the Lisbon Cathedral to several young couples coming from poor backgrounds of the city. If you are the romantic type, you may watch the parade of the newly married couple and dream about your own marriage; who knows, you may get so enthusiastic with the idea you may want to get married here in Lisbon, following the spirit of St. Anthony.