Come celebrate the Popular Marches and the Popular Saints of Lisbon

Would you like to know the true spirit of the capital and the old neighborhoods? Well, the Weddings of Saint Anthony, also known as the Brides of Saint Anthony, the Popular Marches and the Popular Saints of Lisbon will definitely help you to accomplish that. Come celebrate these festivities on June 12th and 13th, so you can be part of this special day, exclusively dedicated to Saint Anthony, the most beloved Saint of the city!

So, what can you do on June 12th and 13th?

On June 12th, during the day, the streets are filled with love (the same love that is live on national TV as well), and 16 couples say "I do” and get married; these are the Saint Anthony’s Weddings. At the beginning of the night, a group of people, wearing an outstanding outfit, marches down the Avenida da Liberdade, in what is the most expected cultural event of the year that brings thousands of visitors to the city; these are the traditional Popular Marches. At the end of the night, in each old neighbourhood, the euphoria of the Popular Saints of Lisbon invades the body and soul of everyone, that gather together to eat grilled sardines and to spend moments full of joy and fun.

On June 13th, a local Holiday in Lisbon in honour of the death of Saint Anthony, the day is all yours… so as the city! So, feel free to do whatever you wish or need!

The Popular Marches and the Popular Saints: pillars of the Lisbon culture

June is a very special month, as day 12 is also the official date of the Popular Saints - which are celebrated in honour of Saint Anthony, Saint John, and Saint Peter, three very special Saints for the Portuguese people. Many festivities, with their characteristic accessories, take place in several cities but are Lisbon and Oporto those that receive more attention from the media.

Although Oporto hosts important festivities, such as the Saint John’s celebrations, is in the capital that people live these traditions more intensely: the Popular Marches, along with the night of the Popular Saints, are strong pillars of the culture and the tradition of Lisbon; actually, both are a passionate representation of life experiences in the oldest neighbourhoods - places where the city has its deepest roots.

And another interesting curiosity needs to be told: the Popular Marches — a parade held, at the beginning of the night, between Avenida da Liberdade and the city's downtown —and even the spirit of the old and genuine Lisbon, are so essential for so many people (mostly marchers), that their lives, all over the year, revolves around the upcoming event. In fact, this passion is so profound that they dedicate themselves, with all heart and soul, to the idealization and the creation of their march - which usually represents their neighbourhoods. Costumes, choreography, accessories, music, lyrics... everything is rehearsed over and over again until being presented to the audience and to the panel on the big day. For all these people, this night needs to be perfect: their march has to please everyone; and, of course, has to be the great winner, or at least, the winner of one of the categories, which are "choreography", "scenography", "costume", "letter", "musicality", "original composition" and "march on the Avenida da Liberdade"(check some pictures of Popular Marches in 2018).
"Saint Anthony of Lisbon and the world" will be the theme of the Popular Marches this year, which aims to exhibit, beyond borders, the importance of this so beloved Saint. That’s why, if you are thinking of visiting the capital next June, the Popular Marches of Lisbon and the Popular Saints can be two of the major reasons to do so. The city invites you to come and celebrate the festivities with all the thousands of people that, on this day, go downtown and to the streets of the most typical neighbourhoods. You only have to get ready for the shining colours, the unusual accessories, the loud traditional music, the noisy sounds, the aroma of sardines, codfish pastries, fried green beans and the other delicious Portuguese snacks; and, the best of all, for the laughs, the magic, and the contagious happiness that spreads across Lisbon.

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