Portugal Day

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Portugal Day
(Portuguese: Dia de Portugal)
Monument to Luís de Camões in Lisbon, Portugal (May 2005)
Official name Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas
Observed by Portugal
Type National Day
Date 10 June
Next time 10 June 2016 (2016-06-10)
Frequency annual
Related to Luís de Camões

Portugal Day, officially Portuguese: Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas (Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities), is Portugal's National Day celebrated annually on 10 June.

Although officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580.

Honoring Camões[edit]

Camões wrote Os Lusíadas (usually translated as The Lusiads), Portugal's national epic poem celebrating Portuguese history and achievements. The poem focuses mainly on the 15th-century Portuguese explorations, which brought fame and fortune to the country. The poem, considered one of the finest and most important works in Portuguese literature, became a symbol for the great feats of the Portuguese Empire.

Camões was an adventurer who lost one eye fighting in Ceuta, wrote the poem while traveling, and survived a shipwreck in Cochinchina (a region of present-day Vietnam). According to popular folklore, Camões saved his epic poem by swimming with one arm while keeping the other arm above water. Since his date of birth is unknown, his date of death is celebrated as Portugal's National Day.

Although Camões became a symbol for Portugal nationalism, his death coincided with the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 that eventually resulted in Philip II of Spain claiming the Portuguese throne. Portugal was then ruled by three generations of Spanish kings during the Iberian Union (1580–1640). On 1 December 1640, the country regained its independence once again by expelling the Spanish during the Portuguese Restoration War and making John of Bragança, King John IV of Portugal.

During the authoritarian Estado Novo regime in the 20th century, Camões was used as a symbol for the Portuguese nation. In 1944, at the dedication ceremony of the National Stadium in Oeiras (near Lisbon), Prime Minister of Portugal António de Oliveira Salazar referred to 10 June as Dia da Raça (Day of the Portuguese Race). The notion of a Portuguese "race" served his nationalist purposes.[1]

Portugal Day celebrations were officially suspended during the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Celebrations resumed after 1974 and were expanded to include the Comunidades Portuguesas, Portuguese emigrants and their descendants living in communities all around the world.


The celebrations involve various military ceremonies, exhibitions, concerts, pageants and parades, and an awards ceremony by the President of the Portuguese Republic. Every year, the President chooses a city to host the official celebrations:-

In 2013 the official celebrations took place in the town of Elvas, the second time since 1997. One reason that Elvas had been chosen was that it had been classified in 2012 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is one of the most important cities in Portugal at the military level and the most fortified city in Europe.

In other countries[edit]


In Toronto, Ontario, over 200,000 Portuguese Canadians celebrate by holding a multitude of events surrounding the 10 June date. The week-long festival culminates with the Portugal Day Parade on Dundas Street, in the area known as Little Portugal. The parade ends near Trinity Bellwoods Park, where concerts, cultural events and various other activities take place. The Portugal Day Parade is Toronto's third-largest street festival and first celebrated in 1966.[9]

United Kingdom[edit]

In London, England, Portuguese Britons celebrate the holiday annually as part of the UK Day of Portugal events. In 2009, festivities were held on 21 June in Streatham Common Park. In 2010 and 2011, festivities were celebrated on 13 June and 12 June, respectively, in Kennington Park, southeast London, in the area known as Little Portugal.

The 2012 observance was held on 10 June in Kennington Park. The officials and athletes representing Portugal at the 2012 Summer Olympics were based in Little Portugal near Kennington Park, and attended Portugal Day 2012 in Kennington Park. [10] In 2013, the event was held on Sunday, 9 June 2013 in Kennington Park as in previous years.[11]

In 2014 the event was not held, but was held in 2015 on Sunday June 14 in Streatham Common Park and this was the first time that a fee was charged to enter.[12]

United States[edit]

Portuguese Americans celebrate the holiday throughout the country, especially in Portuguese-American neighborhoods.

  • In Mineola, New York, the Nassau County Portugal Day Celebration is held annually at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative & Executive Building by the Offices of the County Executive Ed Mangano, Comptroller George Maragos and a dozen Portuguese-American clubs and organizations. In 2013, the event was held on Monday 10 June 2013 and featured the Ambassador of Portugal to the United States, Nuno Brito, as the Keynote Speaker. The event was first organized by Gabriel Silva Marques, who still serves as the Event Chairman.[15][16][17] In 2012, the first Portuguese-American New York State Senator Jack M. Martins was named "Nassau County Portuguese-American of the Year" and made any honorary chairman of the event.[18]
  • In New York City, New York, a celebration of Portugal Day 2013 will be held in Central Park. The event will take place on 16 June and will consist of a five-mile run and kids' races for ages 2 to 12. In addition, a Portuguese festival will be held, including sampling of Portuguese products and performances by Portuguese artists. The event is organized by the Portuguese Circle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [clarification needed] Costa, Ana Correia (9 June 2004). "Estado Novo: 10 de Junho é 'Dia da Raça'" (in Portuguese). JornalismoPortoNet. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "2006: 10 de Junho no Porto". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  3. ^ "2007: 10 de Junho Setúbal". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  4. ^ "2008: 10 de Junho Viana do Castelo". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  5. ^ "2009: 10 de Junho Santarém". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  6. ^ "2010: 10 de Junho Faro". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  7. ^ "2011: 10 de Junho Castelo Branco". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  8. ^ "2012: 10 de Junho Lisboa". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  9. ^ "Toronto’s Portugal Day has a long history". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  10. ^ Degun, Tom (27 April 2011). "Lambeth To Be Base for Portugal During London 2012". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Dia de Portugal - Londres 2013. "Dia de Portugal Londres 2013". Dia de Portugal - Londres 2013 (via Facebook). Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Day of Portugal UK. "Day of Portugal UK". Day of Portugal UK (via Facebook). Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Database (undated). "Festivals and Parades". Government of Newark. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  14. ^ [dead link] "Eventos do Dia de Portugal". Portuguese American Clubs of New Jersey.
  15. ^ http://mineola.patch.com/groups/events/p/nassau-county-portugal-day-2013
  16. ^ http://mineola.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/martins-named-portuguese-american-of-the-year
  17. ^ http://www.theislandnow.com/williston_park/news/article_aa69a38a-b665-11e1-99a4-001a4bcf887a.html
  18. ^ http://www.newsday.com/long-island/towns/long-island-now-1.1732330/nassau-portugal-day-celebration-today-1.3767229
  19. ^ http://www.visitphilly.com/events/philadelphia/peco-multicultural-series-at-penns-landing/
  20. ^ http://www.gazela.org/contact.htm

External links[edit]