June Festas in Portugal
The summer in Portugal is filled with traditional festivals through out the country but June is the month for celebration of the favorite saints. Dia de Santo António – Saint Anthony’s Day is celebrated on June 13th. June 24th belongs to St. John and June 29th to St. Peter. Many Portuguese Immigrant communities around the world still follow these traditions and hold these festivals.
The streets are decorated with balloons and arches made out of brightly-colored paper; people dance in the city’s small squares, and altars, dedicated to the saints, are put up as a way of asking for good fortune.
As well as being the patron saint of Lisbon, St. Anthony is also know in Portugal as the “matchmaker saint” and many single women pray to Saint Anthony to find them their mate.
“Santo António, Santo Antoninho, Arranja-me lá um maridinho…” (St. Anthony, my dear St. Anthony, find me a husband…) is one of the oldest and most popular chants in the city.
A flower pot of sweet basil and a love poem is offered as a token of admiration to a perspective suitor. It’s custom for the Lisbon town hall to organize multiple weddings (200 – 300) for lovers from modest backgrounds, which are held in Lisbon cathedral.