Santo António Celebration

Thu, 14.06.2018

Traditions and symbols of this month of festivities

Curious to know what we discovered on the 14th of June during the tour about the celebration of Santo António? Continue reading!

The first stop of the tour was the church of Santo António. It was destroyed by the earthquake in 1755. Here, we discovered the origin of the altar. It served in the 18th century to collect money for the reconstruction of the church; and the child at the center is Jesus. Indira revealed us some strange and fun customs related to this celebration. Then, our students throwed a coin to the statue of Santo António. According to the tradition, who manages to hit the Saint’s head will have a blessed marriage.

Indira explained us that the king D. João instituted the Saint Anthony’s Celebration on the 15th of February, in the 15th century. Later, it was moved to the 13th of June. This month, when summer begins, is also associated with fertility, love and marriage.

Indira also told us about another tradition: “the couples of Santo António”. During the Estado Novo, 13 pairs of poor and good-looking future couples were offered a wedding. Food and clothes were offered by merchants to get publicity and promote commerce. The 13 marriages are still celebrated today in the Sé de Lisboa, the second stop of our tour.

And there is no Santo António celebration without the marchas populares, of pagan origin. In the course of it there is a competition between the different districts of the city.

Two other symbols of the celebration are the sardinhas and the manjerico. The first ones spread as poor and populous food. The second is a plant with a very short life that symbolizes youthful love.

At the end of the tour, we enjoyed a drink together at the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, in Alfama.

Here you can see some photos of the tour:

A joyful atmosphere in Lisbon to honour this popular Saint

The month of June, in Lisbon, is a celebration every day. The city is filled with music, colourful decorations, lights, food and drinks. Our school invites you to a tour that will show you the most popular traditions of the capital. On the 14th of June, we will immerse ourselves in the joyful and happy Lisbon. Our history teacher, Indira, will tell us all about Santo António, passing by the places where he grew up in Alfama.

We will start by exploring the Church that bears his name. This is a Romanic Catholic church and it’s classified as a National Monument.

We’ll continue our journey through some of the most popular streets of Alfama, which includes a mandatory stop in the Sé de Lisboa, where the “couples of Santo António” marry. Indira will explain us this famous tradition called “the brides of Santo António”, that is celebrated in Portugal since 1958.

Santo António, whose origins were noble, is remembered for being a priest close to the people; in fact, he used to assist and to speak to the poor. He was born in Lisbon in 1195, but he also lived in France and Italy, where he met St. Francis of Assisi. He is celebrated both in Pádua and in Lisbon.


Here, in particular, the “Night of Saint Anthony” is dedicated to him, between 12th and 13th June, the day of his death.

This is an unmissable and unforgettable night. Surrounded by popular music played by musicians and dancing people. Everywhere, you can taste the typical treat of the city: the sardines.


The tour will be in English and in Portuguese. Don’t miss the opportunity to improve your listening skills of Portuguese, while learning more about the history of Lisbon.

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