Typical traditions for the celebration of Santo Antonio and sardinhas
We can all agree that sardinhas are delicious. Portuguese people usually eat them “assada”, grilled. If you have not tasted it yet, this is the moment to do it. In Lisbon, sardines are really loved. Especially in June, if you walk around the city in a neighborhood like Bairro Alto you will smell it everywhere. In this month there are several festivities that involve sardines, but the most typical and beautiful one is the celebration for Santo Antonio.
Several traditions are respected during the festival. The most typical ones are the celebration of the brides of Sant’Antonio, the parades, the hundreds of kiosks that sell sangria, beer, and of course sardines.
This celebration takes place on the 12-13 of June. Anyway, the preparation starts weeks before. You realize it just walking in the city. You can feel the vibrant expectance of the big festival. All the districts are decorated and music sounds in the city. Already two months before the festival starts a peculiar contest. It is the one for the best-drawn sardine and thousand of participants each year send their artistic creations about sardines. This year more than 8000 people participate!
Now you may be wondering why the festivity for Santo Antonio is connected with sardines. It is due to a legend that involves the Saint. It says that after being ignored by the people of Rimini, he walked out of the city and reached the sea. Since he was not listened to by people he starts speaking to fishes. Thousands of them arrived to listen to the worlds of the Saint.
So if you are planning to come to Lisbon during June, get ready to experience the city at the moment when it is most alive and to meet the real protagonist of the month: sardinhas!