Saint Anthony is a secondary saint of the Capital of Portugal, being the patron saint of Lisbon Saint Vincent, although Saint Anthony is more celebrated. Although the feast today honours the Saint, it has existed since before Christianity itself.
Origin of Saint Anthony and June festivities
Saint Anthony’s Day is celebrated on June 13 and although the celebrations are spread all over the country, it is in the Capital that the celebrations reach a higher peak.
The attribution of Saint Anthony to this date is due to its death, that occurred in that day, in Padua, in century XIII. Throughout his life he was a man who, like few others, dedicated himself to the Christian cause, being recognized by the church as a superb preacher. It is natural to consecrate your day in Lisbon, the land where you were born, in a very Catholic country.
It is in June that the celebrations of the 3 most cherished Saints take place in Portugal. This is because, although the date of the death of Saint Anthony, with Saint John and Saint Peter is more precisely known, it is almost impossible to determine the dates of their births or deaths, thus being assigned day 13 to St. Anthony, 24 to St. John and 29 to St. Peter.
The June selection for these festivities is also thought to be linked to the fertile time that is envisioned in June (derived from juveniles in Latin, meaning youth and iuuen meaning Fertile Time).
Traditions of Saint Anthony
Marriage is intrinsic to St. Anthony in Lisbon, there is even an ancient ritual in the Capital, and if you throw a coin to a statue of St. Anthony located in front of a church of the same name in the city, and this coin is on top of your book or inside his hood, the wedding that approaches the one who threw the coin will be blessed by luck.
Even though as many have never witnessed a live Saint Anthony’s wedding, walking the streets of downtown Pombalina and there are numerous cars with classic outlines with bride and groom, ready to give the knot that supposedly will never be undone.
On this date there are also the Salto das Fogueiras, being this tradition more common in the north of Portugal, including Galicia. After accessing the fire in the limestone of the rides, young people should jump over it (above, never above) as a way to purify the body. The fire is a prayer to the sun that at this time of year is warmer.
After the bonfires are leaped, wild artichokes are burned in the fires, then put in a pot and left to stay overnight, and if they bloom the next day, it means that their love is reciprocated.
The basil, like the artichoke, demonstrates the matchmaking side of St. Anthony. The original tradition says that each man should offer his beloved a basilica accompanied by a block of love, mostly popular.
Evening celebration from 12 to 13
The feasts of Santo António are probably the time of year when the Lisboetas most forget their bitterness, being in part perhaps greater than the Carnival or even the New Year. This is a popular event that reaches an extraordinary dimension, making almost any place within the city a party and camp space, attracting many tourists who come purposefully to Lisbon to stop by tonight.
Neighbourhoods like Alfama or Mouraria become a place of concentration of people almost unimaginable, being difficult to travel by these districts.
Tonight, the choice of many for a meal are the sardines on a slice of bread, without cutlery.
Parallel to these festivities in the city, there is also the descent of Avenida da Liberdade of the Marchas Populares de Lisboa, one of which is to represent each Lisbon district, presenting 2 choreographies in 4 pre-determined points of the avenue, who wants to watch this parade of color, music and animation the power to do, each March accompanied by 2 Celebrities.
Usually on this date the people of Lisboeta celebrate all night, being common only to have party satisfaction completed by 6 or 7 in the morning, leaving behind a track of finished party that demonstrates well as the city lived that night.
On this festive day the city of Lisbon will have most of its cultural and tourist points closed due to the festivities, if you want to complement your visit to this city you can also always take a trip around its surroundings, Sintra, Fátima, Tomar, among others , making your stay more pleasant while waiting, or not (depending on your preferences), for the party night that awaits you.