Are you ready for the big party? There’s coloured paper maché decorating balconies, images with Saint Anthony, basel vases with poems… Wow! The city is even more beautiful!!! Now it’s time to honour our beloved Santo António.
Usually in every Portuguese grandma’s house there’s a small Saint Anthony statue on top of the old TV, or if she’s a very religious person, sitting next to an image of Fátima, Jesus, the cross, a picture with the Pope (not the German pope…sorry!), the sacred family… Santo António is the patron saint of Lisbon as he was born by the Sé, and the only dispute we have with the Italians besides who plays better football (we of course!), is that we claim he’s our saint… period. In fact, he travelled to Italy and eventually died in Pádua… Ooops!
He’s also a “matchmaker” – hopefully you’ll find someone willing to share (not your entire life I’m afraid. No miracles here!) the night with you and have fun. If you’ve heard about saints’ statues without heads, it’s because someone asked for a favour… but the saint was occupied and didn’t listen to their prayers. Well… Italians do it too.
The festival usually includes a huge parade, concerts, cinema, mass weddings, sailing and other sports… and of course: Arraiais. The best definition of arraial is: Popular music playing loud while you’re dancing and grabbing some grilled sardines on top of bread in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other!