FOR THE third year running, Alfama won Lisbon’s Marchas Populares, which took place in the city’s Avenida da Liberdade on June 12.
Alfama won in the speciality, costume, scenography, choreography and dancing categories, in the annual St. Anthony’s Day (the patron saint of Lisbon) parade, which attracted thousands of people, including many tourists.
Madragoa came second overall, while the ‘Best Lyrics and Song’ went to Benfica and the ‘Best Music’ to Olivais. The ‘Best Float’ went to Alto do Pinho, Mouraria and Bela Flor.
Following the parade, thousands of locals and tourists swarmed up to St. Jorge’s Castle and the surrounding lanes, to fill Lisbon’s traditional open-air restaurants and indulge in grilled sardines, pork chops and sangria.
The following day saw the traditional St. Anthony’s procession winding its way through the streets of Alfama. The procession started at St. Anthony’s Church and ran through Alfama, until it reached the Cathedral, or Sé. Lisbon Câmara President, Carmona Rodrigues, commented: “This is the biggest, the oldest and most popular procession in Lisbon and the festival seems to be even more popular as the years go by.”
St. Anthony was born on the site occupied by the present Cathedral, or Sé, in 1190 and, despite living only 40 years and spending most of his time in Padua, Italy, is considered the most famous religious figure in Portuguese history.