The Santos Popular Festivals In Lisbon – June

Festas de Lisboa – Lisbon’s populares festivals

Lisbon’s Popular Festivals in June, also known as the “Festas de Lisboa!”, are traditional celebrations that have been taking place every year for centuries!

The origins of these festivities date back to the 16th century, when the inhabitants of the city began to celebrate the Day of St. Anthony.

The patron saint of Lisbon is Saint Vincent. But it is the Festival of Saint Anthony that is the most celebrated and popular in the city. It is a tradition that is deeply rooted in Lisbon’s culture. The festivities take place every year in June. They include parades, processions, music and dance, as well as gastronomic and cultural events. It’s a great opportunity to discover Lisbon’s culture and traditions.

The festivities can be clearly divided into two parts:

  • On the one hand, the formal events with their parades and processions,
  • on the other, the madness of several days of festivities, with stalls and small concerts.

the tradition of Lisbon’s popular festival

Saint Anthony is known throughout the world for his many miracles. These include helping single people to find love and engaged couples to keep faith in their love.

Prayer to St Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lovers
Pray to St Anthony to meet your husband or wife

“Saint Anthony, I know that marriage is a vocation blessed by God. It is the sacrament of love, comparable to the love of Christ for the Church. I feel called to marriage: I ask you, Saint Anthony, to help me find a good, kind, serious and sincere companion who will have the same feelings of affection that I will have for him or her.
May we complement each other and form a union blessed by God, so that together, united, we will be able to overcome any family problems.
Keep our love alive so that we will never lack understanding and family harmony. Saint Anthony, bless me and my future partner, accompany us to the altar and keep us united for the rest of our lives. Saint Anthony, pray for us. “

The weddings of Saint Anthony

The weddings of Santo António are certainly the most curious and touching tradition in the city.
The first one took place in 1958 in the Church of Santo António. It brought together 26 couples. This initiative was interrupted by the 1974 revolution. It was resumed in 1997 by the Lisbon City Council, which included civil weddings alongside the religious ceremony. Since then, a total of 384 weddings have been celebrated.

65 years later, the spirit of tradition and popular roots will be reinforced on 12 June with a new exchange of rings and vows. This will seal the saint’s legacy in the heart of the city.

This year, 16 couples were selected for civil weddings at the Sé de Lisboa/Alfama Church and the Salão Nobre dos Paços do Concelho Praça do Município.

There were a total of 32 families who came together to celebrate these marriages. We’re talking about more than a thousand people! A unique celebration. Some couples have been on the waiting list for years in the hope of being one of these couples.

Lisbon City Hall, the EGEAC* and numerous sponsors take care of all the logistics. Dresses for the bride and groom, hair and make-up, rings, stag party, reception and honeymoon! At a fraction of the cost, it’s enough to make you a real princess. Who wouldn’t?
*(Cultural and entertainment management company).

We can follow the procession to the Town Hall after the bride and groom have said “Yes, I do” and promised to be faithful for life. Then in vintage cars along the Avenida da Liberdade. Or you can follow the whole day. It will be broadcast on Portuguese Public Television, just like the popular marches.

The Avenida da Liberdade Parade – Marchas Populares

The main parade of the “Festas de Lisboa” is the St. Anthony’s Day March, which takes place on Monday 12 June, the eve of the feast of St. Anthony. This march is a colourful and lively spectacle, with decorated floats, dance groups from all over Portugal, brass bands and traditional Portuguese costumes.

It is pure Portuguese tradition. The dance groups represent different districts of Lisbon and other cities in Portugal. They spend the whole year preparing and choreographing for the big day. Participants range in age from 4 to 88. It’s a great way to keep the community spirit alive throughout the year.

The Avenida da Liberdade will be completely closed to traffic for the occasion. There will be plenty of seating along the avenue to enjoy the evening show. Please note that the seats are free, so if you want to enjoy the show, it’s best to arrive several hours in advance. Thousands of people come from all over Europe and beyond to see this parade.

The Manjericos

This is another tradition of the popular festivities in honour of Saint Anthony and Saint John. They are very much celebrated in Porto. The city will be full of manjerico decorations, but also manjerico gifts, and we’ll explain why.

Manjerico is an aromatic herb of the basil family. It is a highly symbolic plant. The Greeks used to place it at the door of their homes as a sign of welcome. For the Indians it is a sacred plant and in many Middle Eastern countries it is believed to have medicinal properties.

In Portugal, basil is the herb of lovers. It is associated with the traditions of the feast day of the holy matchmaker, Saint Anthony. According to the old tradition, the person you love should be given a manjerico. They should take care of the plant until 13 June of the following year. This used to be a serious commitment, like getting married. Basil plants can be presented with a paper carnation and a love song.

Its life cycle is thought to be one of the reasons why basil is chosen for these celebrations. They are sown at the end of winter, form in June, flower in summer and die in autumn.

The Arraiais

Throughout June, the streets of the city are decorated with colourful banners and filled with stalls selling typical Portuguese products, grilled meats and other specialities. Mini-concerts are held in many of the city’s squares, where people dance, sing, drink and celebrate St Anthony’s Day and, more simply, life.

Mouraria, Alfama, Grâça, Bairro Alto, Santos and Bica are, of course, the must-see districts for us. …. But there’s entertainment all over the city. And we can’t wait to get immersed in the festive atmosphere and get involved!

There’s a common joke among Portuguese people which consists of saying “I saw you during the festivities” / “Ví-te nos Santos”. It’s almost impossible because there are thousands and thousands of people in the streets. But we can assure you that it still makes us laugh.

To sum up: Lisbon’s popular festivals are an opportunity for us and visitors to discover Portuguese traditions, taste local culinary specialities and party and dance in a unique festive atmosphere. Something you must experience at least once in your life!

Public Holidays

There are three public holidays in the month of June in Lisbon. This is a great time to take a little time off.

8 June – Corpo de Deus – Festival of God
10 June – Portugal Day
13 June – Saint Anthony’s Day (regional)

Our guided tours during popular festivals

For a unique and authentic discovery of the city, book a private tour on foot, by tuktuk or side car with one of our English-speaking, Spanish-speaking, Italian-speaking or Portuguese-speaking guides.
An unforgettable experience at the heart of Portuguese culture and gastronomy!


As you can see, the atmosphere this June in Lisbon will be electrifying!

To find out more about the festivities, we invite you to follow the headline content on our Instagram and Facebook feeds, where the concerts announced will be shared in due course.

Where to listen to music and dance

What to do based on your group’s profile

Unconventional tours and tips

Street art

Bars & restaurants

Cultural venues

Places to explore in Lisbon


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