HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

 

 

HOLIDAYS

2014
New Year's Day January 1st
Mardi Gras/ Carnival - Shrove Tuesday - Christian March 3rd
Good Friday - Christian April 18 - 20
Anniversary of the Revolution - Portugal April 25th
May Day / Labor Day May 1st
Corpus Christi - Christian June 19th
National Day - Portugal June 10th
Assumption Day - Christian August 15th
Holiday - (Faro) Portugal September 7th
Republic Day - Portugal October 5th
All Saints' Day - Christian November 1st
Independence Day - Portugal December 1st
Feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8th
Christmas - Christian December 25th

 

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FESTIVALS

 

Portugal has a remarkable number of spectacular festivals and celebrations, including the Holy Week Festival; the Festas de São João (Oporto, 24 June), when everyone dances through the streets and the Feira de São Martinho (Golegã, November), which showcases all manner of horses, riding contests and bullfights. 

 

The following are just a few of the more prominent celebrations:

 

St. Martin's Day and Women's St. Martin takes place on the 9th-10th of November. St. Martin's Day begins in the afternoon on the 10th, where people eat grilled chestnuts and drink jerupiga and água-pé. Children paint their faces with the coal used to grill the chestnuts as a playfull way. It begins in the afternoon -- people eat grilled chestnuts and drink "jerupiga" and "água-pé". Some also paint their faces with the coal used to grill the chestnuts. On the 9th,Women's St. Martin Day is celebrated with only women taking part in the festivities. The women eat the grilled chestnuts and enjoy the celebrated beverages.

Location: all Portugal

 

Domingo de Ramos is celebrated the Sunday before Easter Sunday. This festival is celebrated in remembrance of the offer made to Jesus Christ by his followers, when Christ came down the Olivetrees Hill, after having stayed there, in solitude, for 40 days in meditation. 

People get a small bunch of olive tree branches and rosemary, they go to the church in procession singing "Honra, Gloria e Louvor a Vós, oh Cristo, Rei, Redentor! "(Honour, Glory and Praise to You, oh Christ, King, Redeemer!). Then, in the church, the priest blesses the branches with the holy water and says Mass.

Many years ago these olive tree and rosemary branches were left on the altar as an offer to the Christ. Nowadays, people keep these special branches at home all the year round, and it is replaced by a new one every year, to get their homes and lives blessed all the time.

Location: All Portugal

 

All Saints Day: The first of November is a holiday all over the country and it is celebrated in the cemeteries, visiting and decorating with flowers the graves of relatives and friends. 

Location: All Portugal

 
Carnival festivities occurs in February during the three day period before Ash Wednesday. In Portugal, this period is called "Entrudo", the commemorative name of the beginning of Lent. In various regions of Portugal, the Carnival is celebrated with costumes, parties, dances, spectacular and colorful parades of costume, namely in Lisbon, Loulé(Faro), Nazaré, Torres Vedras, Ovar, Mealhada, Viana do Castelo, Sines, Alcobaça and Funchal. The country celebrates Carnaval with astonishing creativity and imagination.

Location: All Portugal
 
Portugal's National Day and Camões Day takes place on the 10th of June. This day celebrates Portugal's independence, as well as, its epic poet, Luís Vaz de Camões, who told the story of the nautical discoveries in 'Os Lusíadas' in 1572. This day has emphasis on cultural events with traditional celebrations.

Location: All Portugal
 
Our Lady of Nazare Pilgrimage: The popular event is typical among people from the Lisbon region, which consists, almost always, of a cyclic pilgrimage in parade to the shrines crossing several localities made by the population of one or more villages. 

Location: Lisbon
 
Feira Popular (The People's Fair): In the warmer months (May through September), various parts of the city host outdoor "fairs" featuring music, hearty food, family gatherings, and wine quaffing. The Oreal, in the Alfama area at Campo das Cebolas, opens in June only, Monday to Friday 10 PM-1 AM, and Saturday to Sunday 10 PM-3 AM. 

Location: Lisbon
 
Bullfight Season: The season runs through September with fights every Thursday evening and Sunday afternoons in the Campo Pequeno bullring. In Portugal, the bulls are tackled and wrestled to a standstill, but not killed in the arena.

Location: Lisbon
 
Cinanima International Animated Film Festival, in November, is set in a small seaside resort in the Northern Portugal. The festival features competitive screenings, retrospectives, workshops, seminars, debates, exhibitions and chats, exchanges of experiences knowledge and examples of animation from throughout the world.

Location: Espinho
 
National Gastronomy Festival: One of the biggest gastronomical festival featuring traditional and regional foods of the entire country accompanied by Portuguese wines. In October, feast on the best cuisine while enjoying the traditional folklore music that Portugal has got to offer.

Location: Santarém
 

Red Waistcoast Festival (Festas do Colete Encarnado) takes place in July. The feast was named after the traditional costumes of the 'Ribatejo' horsemen. This fair includes the running of the bulls through the streets, regional folk dances competitions of the 'campinos' (cowboys), and bullfights. The highlight is Saturday night when the town parties until daybreak. 

Location: Vila Franca de Xira

 
Pilgrimage to Fátima takes place in May. Fátima is about 100 km north of Lisbon. The Fátima Sanctuary is a pilgrimage site for millions of Catholics from around the world and a place of devotion for most Portuguese people. This sanctuary is one of the most important Marian sites, as Lourdes in France and Chestochowa in Poland. On the 12th there is a candlelight procession and on the 13th is the most important day when devotees and pilgrims from around the world congregate at the sanctuary to mark the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary to the shepards in 1917. 

Location: Fátima 
 
Flower Festival: On the 13th of April, the traditional wall of hope festivities and the 14th is the breathtaking grand parade of Madeira's capital with thousands of different types of flowers leaving behind the perfumed scent on the streets they pass. 

Location: Funchal, Madeira
 
Holy Week Festivities (Festividades da Semana Santa) in March/Easter. To the north, particularly noteworthy in Braga (a citadel of Christianity when most of Portugal was Moorish and still the ecclesiastical capital) and in Ovar and Póvoa de Varzim. The most important events take place on Holy Thursday and Good Friday when the colorful processions pass through the streets. 

Location: Braga
 
Fantásporto do Porto in February. This international cinema festival is currently considered one of the most important festivals of cinema in the world. Fantasporto began in 1981 as "Mostra de Cinema Fantástico", turning into the most progressive and talked about cultural event in cinema and theater in Portugal with over 100,000 visitors each year. 

Location: Porto 
 
Festa do São Pedro: Every 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month. A fair of antiques and handicrafts in the hill resort-village, north of Lisbon.

Location: Sintra
 
Sintra Music Festival, during the months of June and July, is one of Portugal's most prestigious summer festivals of serious music. The World Heritage Village of Sintra (about 20 minutes from Lisbon) hosts a stage for a series of concerts and recitals by major orchestras, ensembles and performers from Portugal and abroad. The festival attracts to the region a large number of music lovers, owing to the quality of the artists and the program, which is entirely made up of a piano repertoire from the Romantic period, with the best interpreters of the present international music milieu. The various concerts (about twelve) usually take place in churches, royal palaces (Palácio da Vila, Palácio da Pena and Palácio de Queluz), as well as in parks and country estates of the region. It also includes Ballet nights in Seteais. 

Location: Sintra
 

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