The Popular Saints or ” The Saints”, as they are known, take place during the entire month of June and pay tribute to the patron saints of different neighborhoods. To make these festivities even more special and full of life, this year the 1st edition of Santos no Tejo will take place at Doca da Marinha.
Whether you’re a foodie, music lover, or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, you don’t want to miss these amazing celebrations. So let’s dive in and explore the best places to join in the fun!
Where it all started…
The Popular Saints festivities are a Portuguese tradition that dates back to the XIII century. These festivals are celebrated during the month of June, in honor of three saints: Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter.
Although many consider St. Anthony to be the patron saint of the city of Lisbon, this was actually a popular choice. In the year 1173, Saint Vincent was nominated as the official patron saint of the city of Lisbon and remains so until today.
Born in 1195, Fernando Bulhões, better known as Saint Anthony, is the patron saint of fishermen, pregnant women, sailors, travelers, farmers, the elderly, and known to many as the matchmaker saint. The name “Antonio” was chosen by him as soon as he joined the Franciscan Order, in the Monastery of S. Vicente de Fora.
Saint Anthony is the most important and popular celebration in Lisbon. For the followers, his figure symbolizes a kind, intelligent, charismatic man with an excellent speech.
The Saint John festivities are celebrated on June 24th and are also very popular in Lisbon, although they don’t have the same dimension as the Saint Anthony festivities. Porto is the peak of the festivities and it is a local holiday on this day.
Like St. John and St. Anthony, St. Peter is a highly esteemed popular saint. He is the last popular saint according to these dates and his feast day is celebrated on June 29th. Pope’s Day is also celebrated on this day, since Saint Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic Church.
Tradition is synonym of celebration
During these celebrations, the streets in Lisbon are filled with color and music, inviting everyone to dance, sing, and enjoy delicious food and drink.
One of the most traditional activities during the saints’ feasts is the procession, where the image of the saint is carried through the streets of the neighborhood and people show their love for him.
The “arraiais” are also an icon of these Popular Saint festivities in the month of June. The “arraiais” are popular festivals organized by the associations in each neighborhood. The streets are filled with stands selling food, drink, and handicrafts. It is the perfect opportunity to try some of the most delicious dishes of Portuguese gastronomy. From grilled sardines to “caldo verde” (soup), these are dishes that should be on your menu. In addition, there is no shortage of refreshing drinks, such as sangria and beer, to complement the party.
Equally important are the popular marches. They consist of thematic parades, previously rehearsed, with unique costumes. Composed of residents from different neighborhoods, the groups parade down Avenida da Liberdade to the sound of popular Portuguese music. The marches are a true demonstration of Lisbon’s identity and community spirit.
Another unique tradition is the Saint Anthony weddings. If couples wish to tie the knot religiously, the ceremony takes place at the Lisbon Cathedral. However, there are those who opt for the civil registry. The reception is celebrated together with all the couples dressed up.
Just like in the popular marches, the newlyweds parade down Avenida da Liberdade on the eve of the Santo António holiday.
What are the traditional places to celebrate the Santos Populares?
Alfama is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon and is known for its narrow streets, colorful houses and its fado houses. During the festivities, Alfama comes even more alive with traditional music, dancing and food.
Another very popular neighborhood in Lisbon is Bairro Alto, best known for its active nightlife and lively bars. Thanks to the nice weather in June, these celebrations allow for long nights of fun, with excellent music and free entrance.
The historic neighborhood of Graça, on top of a hill, offers amazing views over the city. As one of the best known festivities in the city, the Arraial da Vila Berta never lacks grilled sardines and dancing.
If you want to join the useful to the pleasant, we have one more suggestion for you. To enjoy your stay in Lisbon and the popular festivities, nothing better than experiencing the “Saints” on board in our company.
The 1st edition of Saints in the Tagus
Close to downtown lisbon and next to our Tagus river, Doca da Marinha receives the biggest “Santódromo” of the capital to celebrate the Popular Saints.
The first edition of “Santos no Tejo” will take place from June 1 to 12 and promises to be a unique, safe and different experience. The venue is prepared to receive about 8 thousand people daily.
The incredible musical program features several popular names in Portuguese music, including Quim Barreiros, José Malhoa, Emanuel, Ágata, and many others.
The Saints in the Tagus have food for all tastes. The traditional grilled sardines, bread with chorizo, steaks and caldo verde (soup) are dishes that leave our mouths watering. Besides this, there are also food trucks with hamburgers, hot dogs, “farturas”, wayffles, and the tasty açaí.
Although the opening of the venue starts earlier than usual (at 5 pm), a diversified program is prepared to entertain all ages. There is a variety of games that promise to entertain everyone, such as the target destroyer, steel fist, foosball, turbo kicker, and much more.
Plans for a complete experience
The perfect combination to get to know Lisbon in two important aspects: its history and its culture.
Start your day with a boat tour to admire the breathtaking scenery of the Tagus River and its sights, while our team explains everything about the history of Lisbon and Portugal. Enjoy this tour, relax and take pictures.
Finish the day with a visit to the “Santos no Tejo”. Explore the various stands and try the typical food of these festivities. Enjoy the live music and especially the lively environment. Just bring a good mood and a lot of energy to dance and socialize until late.
Enjoy, because it happens only once a year 😉
Join the useful to the pleasant
During the month of June do not lose the opportunity to experience the Popular Saints in Lisbon. From the lively music to the delicious food and its characteristic decoration, these are unique opportunities to immerse yourself in the true essence of Lisbon’s traditions.
If you join the useful with the pleasant, you can still enjoy a wonderful day. Start the day on board, enjoy the splendid view of Lisbon’s shores and end it at the “Santos no Tejo” festivities.
Finally, the Saints are an opportunity to celebrate Lisbon’s culture and identity, strengthening community ties and promoting a spirit of festivity and unity. Wear your most comfortable clothes, prepare your shoes, and have a great time!