Portugal Day

Portugal Day
(Portuguese: Dia de Portugal)
Monument to Luís de Camões in Lisbon, Portugal (May 2005)
Official name Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas
Observed by Portugal
Type National Day
Date 10 June
Next time 10 June 2019 (2019-06-10)
Frequency annual
Related to Luís de Camões

Portugal Day, officially Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities (Portuguese: Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas), is Portugal's National Day celebrated annually on June 10th.

Although officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on June 10, 1580.

Honoring Camões

Camões wrote Os Lusíadas (usually translated as The Lusiads), Portugal's national epic poem celebrating Portuguese history and achievements. The poem focuses mainly on the 15th-century Portuguese explorations, which brought fame and fortune to the country. The 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 the poem while traveling, and survived a shipwreck in Cochinchina (a region of 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 his date of birth is unknown, his date of death is celebrated as Portugal's National Day.

Although Camões became a symbol for Portugal nationalism, his death coincided with the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 that eventually resulted in Philip II of Spain claiming the Portuguese throne. Portugal was then ruled by three generations of Spanish kings during the Iberian Union (15801640). On 1 December 1640, the country regained its independence once again by expelling the Spanish during the Portuguese Restoration War 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 in Oeiras (near Lisbon), Prime Minister of Portugal António de Oliveira Salazar referred to 10 June as Dia da Raça (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 in 1974. Celebrations resumed after 1974 and were expanded to include the Comunidades Portuguesas, Portuguese emigrants and their descendants living in communities all around the world.


The celebrations involve various military ceremonies, exhibitions, concerts, pageants and parades, and an awards ceremony by the President of the Portuguese Republic. Every year, the President chooses a city to host the official celebrations:

In 2013 the official celebrations took place in the town of Elvas, the second time since 1997. One reason that Elvas had been chosen was that it had been classified in 2012 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is one of the most important cities in Portugal at the military level and the most fortified city in Europe.

In 2016 for the first time the official ceremonies were divided between Lisbon and Paris, in France, by the initiative of president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as a reminder that it is also the day of the Portuguese communities throughout the world[9] .

In other countries


On November 8th, 2017, the House of Commons unanimously passed Davenport M.P. Julie Dzerowicz’s Private Member’s Bill M-126, declaring June as Portuguese Heritage Month and June 10 as Portugal Day in Canada. M-126 recognizes the contributions that Portuguese-Canadians have made to Canada and the importance of educating and reflecting upon Portuguese heritage and culture for future generations. This now opens these occasions to being recognized and celebrated at a national level instead of only by municipalities or provinces.[10]

In Toronto, Ontario, over 200,000 Portuguese-Canadians celebrate by holding a multitude of events surrounding the 10 June date. The week-long festival culminates with the Portugal Day Parade on Dundas Street, in the area known 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 and first celebrated in 1966.[11]

United Kingdom

In London, England, Portuguese Britons celebrate the holiday annually as part of the UK Day of Portugal events. In 2009, festivities were held on 21 June in Streatham Common Park. In 2010 and 2011, festivities were celebrated on 13 June and 12 June, respectively, in Kennington Park, southeast London, in the area known as Little Portugal.

The 2012 observance was held on 10 June in Kennington Park. The officials and athletes representing Portugal at the 2012 Summer Olympics were based in Little Portugal near Kennington Park, and attended Portugal Day 2012 in Kennington Park. [12] In 2013, the event was held on Sunday, 9 June 2013 in Kennington Park as in previous years.[13]

In 2014 the event was not held, but was held in 2015 on Sunday June 14 in Streatham Common Park and this was the first time that a fee was charged to enter.[14] The event in 2016 was also planned to be a paid event on Sunday June 12 in Streatham Common Park, but was cancelled due to heavy rain.[15]

United States

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

See also


  1. Costa, Ana Correia (9 June 2004). "Estado Novo: 10 de Junho é 'Dia da Raça'" (in Portuguese). JornalismoPortoNet. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  2. "2006: 10 de Junho no Porto". Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  3. "2007: 10 de Junho Setúbal". Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  4. "2008: 10 de Junho Viana do Castelo". Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  5. "2009: 10 de Junho Santarém". Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  6. "2010: 10 de Junho Faro". Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  7. "2011: 10 de Junho Castelo Branco". Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  8. "2012: 10 de Junho Lisboa". Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  9. "10 de junho: Comemorações pela primeira vez em "território espiritual" de Portugal". Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  10. "PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 (42nd Parliament, 1st Session) - Private Members' Motions — M-126 Portuguese Heritage Month". Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  11. "Toronto's Portugal Day has a long history". Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  12. Degun, Tom (27 April 2011). "Lambeth To Be Base for Portugal During London 2012". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  13. Dia de Portugal - Londres 2013. "Dia de Portugal Londres 2013". Dia de Portugal - Londres 2013 (via Facebook). Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  14. Day of Portugal UK. "Day of Portugal UK". Day of Portugal UK (via Facebook). Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  15. Day of Portugal UK. "Day of Portugal UK". Day of Portugal UK (via Facebook). Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  16. Database (undated). "Festivals and Parades" Archived 5 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Government of Newark. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  17. "Eventos do Dia de Portugal". Portuguese American Clubs of New Jersey.
  18. http://mineola.patch.com/groups/events/p/nassau-county-portugal-day-2013%5Bpermanent+dead+link%5D
  19. http://mineola.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/martins-named-portuguese-american-of-the-year%5Bpermanent+dead+link%5D
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  21. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 May 2016. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
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