Despite the specific nostalgic character Lisbon is often characterized with, the Portuguese capital and its surroundings are an ideal destination for those who are looking for a traditional seaside and lots of fun. Below we summarize some of the best ceremonies and events from the local calendar.
Most important festivals in Lisbon
- Lisbon Carnival. Although Rio carnival is the most famous in the world, its origins stem from the Portuguese capital. The culminating moment of these celebrations, which are held in February or March (depending on the date when Lenten starts) is the last day. Thousands of citizens become witnesses of a magnificent parade of decorated floats with jugglers and dancers. The Park of Nations and the coast are the two most popular sites during this time.
- Procession of the Lord dos Passos. On the second Sunday of Lenten or the week that follows the carnival, the devotees accompany this venerated image along the main streets of Lisbon, in conformity with a religious tradition dating from 1586.
- Indie Lisboa. Each May and over a period of 12 days this city has an appointment for lovers of the seventh art: Indie Lisboa International Independent Film Festival. The purpose of this international event is to unveil new emerging talents and cinematographic trends.
- Lisbon Book Fair. Since the beginning of June and for almost three weeks, Eduardo VII Park hosts this veteran bibliographic event, born in 1930.
- Festivities of San Antonio. Throughout the month of June, the streets of Lisbon are decorated to honour patron saints, also known as the Popular Saints. In any case, the culminating moment of the event takes place at night from the 12th to the 13th of June. On that night, lively processions, formed by beautifully decorated floats, cover Avenida da Liberdade, the central street of Lisbon, where each of the participants are aspiring to take the first prize for the best performance. The celebrations are accompanied with sardine barbecues and el fado. Another curious fact is that since the 1950s one couple has the privilege of having a massive wedding ceremony inside the Cathedral of Lisbon. Commemoration of the National Day of Portugal (June 10) is also broadly celebrated, as well as other popular festivals, which take place in various neighbourhoods of the city, especially in la Alfama. At the end of June or in early July, a pyrotechnic show over the Tagus brings to a fabulous end this essential festival.
- Estoril Lisbon Festival (Estoril Music Weeks). Every July or August, the neighbouring towns of Estoril and Cascais host this great event that started in 1975. The program includes numerous concerts of classical music and jazz, some of which are free.
- San Martín. On November the 10th, a day before the celebrations of San Martín, the young people of Lisbon perform an ancient ritual to predict whether they will meet the partner of their dreams. To this end they use a small bowl and a piece of paper.