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Saint Anthony: The matchmaker Saint of Lisbon

Saint Anthony's Day, Saint Anthony's festivity, Saint Anthony's Brides or Saint Anthony's Weddings... does any of these terms sound familiar to you?
 
Although the Portuguese State considers itself as secular, there is a Catholic tradition deeply rooted in the country. For that reason, is very usual in Portugal worship a large number of Saints and pray to them, making promises, expecting miracles. And the celebration of Saint Anthony is precisely one of the cases that most demonstrates these religious custom.

Saint Anthony, the Saint of the sermons that last in time

Born in Lisbon, in 1195, he is also known as Saint Anthony of Padua, an Italian city where he died in 1231. Traveled and educated man, recognized for teaching Theology at several European universities, he is the most popular of all the Portuguese Saints, and all around the world everybody loves him. This devotion to Saint Anthony is due to his generosity and kindness towards the poor, that touched all around him; and that is also why he was canonized by the Catholic Church less than a year after his death.
 
It is in Lisbon that Anthony of Padua is especially loved, being known as the matchmaker Saint of the city - it is said that he was an excellent conciliator of couples. The day of his death, June 13th, local holiday, is one of the most important dates for the capital, where he is seen as a patron - although, for the Catholic Church, the true patron Saint of Lisbon is Saint Vincent and, therefore, both are recognized as sanctities worthy of celebrations.

Saint Anthony’s Weddings: a timeless tradition

On the eve of Saint Anthony's day, Lisbon is filled with love: the day of Saint Anthony's Weddings or the day of Saint Anthony’s Brides, as many people call it, has finally arrived!
 
This is perhaps the most traditional and relevant religious event of the capital since 1958. With a very noble purpose - to make marriage possible for couples who are in financial difficulties - it is always celebrated on June 12th, the day before the Holiday, in the Church of Santo António, Lisbon.
 
Today, there are 16 couples who say "I Do!”, in the religious or in the civil ceremony, providing so much happiness to their families and to all the people who follow these weddings, whether on the streets of the city or through broadcast on national TV.
 
So, if you are in the capital, or you are planning to do so very soon, do follow Saint Anthony’s festivities along with all the lisbon families, so you can be surrounded by the spirit of love and joy that everyone lives in each street of the city, especially in the neighborhoods. Only then you can realize why Saint Anthony belongs to Lisbon and why so many people, both children, and adults, are always so devoted to him.
 
Also, you must know that June is a very special month since you can not only enjoy the Weddings of Saint Anthony but also the Festivals of Popular Saints and the Popular Marches of Lisbon on the same day and until dawn.
 
So, is Saint Anthony, the Matchmaker, captivating enough for you to come to Lisbon?

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