Today’s topic will be all about Holidays in Portugal! Whether you are looking to know a little bit more about our culture, simply to know when most businesses are closed or when you should take the time off from work, it is always good to keep them in mind when coming to our little country!
Portugal has a mix of national holidays and regional or municipal holidays. As a very traditional and catholic country, we have quite a few religious holidays, but we also celebrate important historical events and people, as well as labor achievements.
In total, we have 14 national holidays (13 mandatory and 1 optional).
Let’s take a look at them!
National Holidays (Public holidays)
JANUARY - JANEIRO
January 1st - Celebrates the first day of the civil year;
FEBRUARY - FEVEREIRO
In February you will find Carnaval (or Entrudo) to be the only optional national holiday. It is always celebrated on a Tuesday and it is considered a “mobile holiday” meaning it does not have a fixed day. Typically, it is celebrated between February 3rd and March 9th. Entrudo in Portugal comes from Pagan traditions of celebrating the end of Winter. The most famous and festive Carnaval parades are in Madeira, Ovar, Nazaré, Torres Vedras, Loulé and Sesimbra. But if you want to see parades that most resemble the ancient Portuguese traditions, head on to North of Portugal, specifically Lazarim and Podence in Lamego.
MARCH - MARÇO
Between March 20th and April 23rd - Sexta-feira Santa (also a mobile holiday) is celebrated on the Friday before Easter (Sunday). During this period, you will find many religious processions all over Portugal as part of the Holy Week. Sexta-Feira Santa (Holy Friday) refers to the crucifixion and tomb of Jesus Christ following by his resurrection on a Sunday;
Between March 22nd and April 25th - Easter (Sunday). Celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ;
APRIL - ABRIL
Between March 20th and April 23rd - Sexta-Feira Santa (see above);
Between March 22nd and April 25th - Easter Sunday (see above);
April 25th - Dia da Liberdade (Freedom Day) also known as the Carnation Revolution. It celebrates the end of Salazar’s dictatorship (Estado Novo) in Portugal;
MAY - MAIO
May 1st - International Workers’ Day;
Between May 21st and June 24th - Corpo de Deus (“Feast of Corpus Christi”). Celebrated 60 days after Easter Sunday.
JUNE - JUNHO
June 10th - Dia de Portugal, Camões and Portuguese Communities (Portugal National Day). Celebrated on the day of death of Luís de Camões, considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet.
Between May 21st and June 24th - Corpo de Deus (see above);
JULY - JULHO
There are no National holidays in July.
AUGUST - AGOSTO
August 15th - Assunção de Nossa Senhora (“Assumption of Mary”)
SEPTEMBER - SETEMBRO
There are no National holidays in September.
OCTOBER - OUTUBRO
October 5th - Implantação da República (“Implementation of Republic”).
NOVEMBER - NOVEMBRO
November 1st - Dia de Todos os Santos (“All Saint Days”). Celebrates the all Catholic Saints and Martyrs and remembrance of all the loved ones who have departed from our lives (also known as day of the dead), for this reason it is tradition to pay a visit to cemeteries. In some areas of the country, there is also the tradition of Pão-por-Deus (“Bread of God”) in which children go door to door to ask for cake, candy or cookies. It is very similar to Halloween except it is done during the day, the children don’t mask themselves and there is no “tricking”.
DECEMBER - DEZEMBRO
December 1st - Restauração da Independência (“Restoration of Independence Day”). Celebrates the restoration of Independence in 1640 from Spanish rulership that lasted 60 years.
December 8th - Imaculada Conceição (“Immaculate Conception”). Celebrates the Queen and Patroness of Portugal and all Communities of Portuguese Language;
December 25th - Christmas Day (self-explanatory, I think).
Municipal Holidays (local holidays)
In addition to Portuguese national holidays, many towns and regions also have their own holidays. While some are designated municipal days, others honor the patron religious figures of each location. For the most curious and those who have already chosen the place where they want to live in Portugal, you can consult the complete list here: "Municipal Holidays in Portugal - Calendar"
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