June 13 - St. Anthony's Day in Lisbon

Posted on June 13, 2020

When you hear that a particular holiday is one huge block party, a street fair, a crowded festival featuring eating, drinking, and being merry - you gotta suspect that the event is cancelled in 2020. I checked and discovered that Lisbon's usual St. Anthony's Day (and especially June 12 St. Anthony's Eve) celebrations are indeed cancelled because of COVID-19.

One of the traditions of St. Anthony's Day is for men to give their loved one a potted basil plant decorated with a paper carnation and a message of love.

Even though this feast day is supposed to be about St. Anthony, the patron saint of Lisbon, it's often called the Festival of Sardines - and the food stalls crowding the streets often feature folks grilling sardines. Apparently the smell of grilled sardines and basil is pretty strong!

Paper garlands strung between buildings, wine and sangria and beer, a parade, jumping over bonfires (!), and staying up all night long are other features of the usual St. Anthony's Eve. 

Two of the most unusual celebrations are: (1) Many people write a prayer on a piece of paper and then stuff the paper into a small bread roll. In turn, the roll is stuffed into the frame of St. Anthony's picture! (2) There are mass wedding ceremonies! Starting with a 1958 wedding ceremony for 26 couples, held at the Church of St. Anthony, this tradition has become a way for people who cannot afford a big wedding to still have a massive celebration!! The newlywed couples even get to walk in their bridal finery in the parade!

Sounds fun! Maybe next year...

Worldwide Knit in Public Day

(Second Saturday in June)

(Second Saturday in June)

(Saturday closest to June 15)

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