Lisbon in June: Saint Anthony’s Day

Some say Santo António (Saint Anthony) is the most well-known Portuguese in the entire world. I think we need to disagree with this because Santo António didn’t benefit from social media and people’s relationship with Religion is not as great as it used to be in the past. Hence, Cristiano Ronaldo is and will be for a long while the most well-known Portuguese around the globe. However, this post is not about Cristiano, but Santo António, the patron of Portugal’s capital – Lisboa (Lisbon).

Saint Anthony’s Day is celebrated on June 13th and it is one of the most popular and awaited festivities in Portugal. I usually tell people to avoid summer months, because it gets extremely hot, but the truth is that our most emblematic festivals happen between June and August. So if you love the sun as much as I do and you don’t mind getting hot (which by the way I do), you should definitely put visiting Lisbon (Lisboa) during summer time in your bucket list.

June 13th is a special holiday in Lisbon, so the ‘party’ starts on the night before. Liberty Avenue (Avenida da Liberdade) is closed down to receive what we call ‘popular marches’. Each neighbourhood parades along the avenue and shows off their creative work of an entire year of preparation and dedication. Colourful costumes, decorations, and cheerful songs delight people from all over the world, and surely enhance local people’s pride.

Live music and the wonderful smell of roasted sardines served on bread invade the streets, and the ‘party’ goes on until the sun comes up. I attended the festivity once, four years ago, and it was 6am when I started heading home. It was also the first time I ever danced in public and in which I actually had fun. There is so many people in the streets dancing and having a good time that you realise no one will even pay attention to what you are doing.

I would like to attend the festivity again and introduce it to someone or a group of people I would like to be with. It’s one of those Portuguese things that I wouldn’t mind to experience and share it with foreigners but which I don’t feel like doing with locals. In fact, it’s good to be here, it feels better to be here… but my heart strangely belongs to the world somehow. It’s a weird feeling and I can only think of the old Portuguese navigators, who would always be exploring and returning back home.

Tradition With An Exotic Twist

Sardines on bread is something we traditionally have during summer festivities. I didn’t want to miss out on it and since sardines are a great source of omega 3, I opted for having some on a slice of high-protein bread. I also did an amazing salad to have with it.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • spinach
  • cucumber
  • peach
  • feta cheese
  • couscous
  • pistachios
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • vinegar

How to prepare it:

Cut the cucumber in cubes and add it to a bowl with the spinach. Use olive oil, vinegar, and pepper to season and mix these two ingredients. Next, cut and add both the peach and the feta cheese. In a separate bowl or recipient, add boiling water to a small portion of couscous. Add pepper, mix it, and place it on your salad bowl. Mix all the ingredients and add a few pistachios.


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