Portugal Day

Portugal Day
Portugal Day
(Portuguese: Dia de Portugal)
Portugal Day(Portuguese: Dia de Portugal)
Monument to Luís de Camões in Lisbon
Official name Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas
Observed by  Portugal
Type National holiday
Date June 10
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 June 10. Although officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The June 10 date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís Vaz de Camões in 1580.


Honoring Camões

Camões wrote Os Lusíadas, Portugal's national epic poem celebrating Portuguese history and achievements. The poem focuses mainly on the 16th-century Portuguese explorations, which brought fame and fortune to the country. Camões' 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 Os Lusíadas while traveling, and survived a shipwreck in Cochinchina (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 Camões' date of birth is unknown, the date of his death is celebrated as Portugal's National Day.

Although Camões became a symbol for Portugal nationalism, his death in 1580 coincided with a dynastic crisis that eventually resulted in Philip II of Spain claiming the Portuguese throne. Portugal was then ruled by three generations of Spanish kings. Sixty years later, on December 1, 1640, the country regained its independence once again by expelling the Spanish 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, António de Oliveira Salazar referred to June 10th as Dia da Raça, the 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. Celebrations resumed after 1974, expanded to include the Comunidades Portuguesas, Portuguese emigrants and their descendants living in communities all around the world.



Over 200,000 Portuguese Canadians who live in Toronto celebrate by holding a multitude of events surrounding the June 10 date. The week-long festival culminates with the Portugal Day Parade on Dundas Street, in the areas knowns 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.[citation needed]


Portuguese Britons celebrate the holiday annually in London as part of the UK Day of Portugal events. In 2009, festivities were held on June 21 in Streatham Common Park. In 2010, festivities were celebrated on June 13 in Kennington Park, southeast London, in the area known as Little Portugal. The 2011 observance will be held Sunday June 12 in Kennington Park.[2]


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

  • Occurring on the weekend closest to June 10 is the Portugal Day street festival in Newark, New Jersey.[3] Organized by the Bernardino Coutinho Foundation from 1979 to 2010, since 2011 Newark's Portugal Day Festival is organized by the Union of Portuguese-American Clubs of New Jersey (UCLANJ: União de Clubes Luso-Americanos de New Jersey).[4]
  • The celebration of Portugal Day 2011 in New York City will be held in Central Park. The Portugal Day NYC event will take place on June 19 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


External links

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