By: CHRIS GRAEME
THE LISBON neighbourhood of Marvila has won the 65th St. Anthony’s Day street parade, Marchas Populares.
Marvila won the Best Parade in the Avenida category, sharing its glory with Alfama who won for Best Choreography in the Lisbon Câmara-organised event on June 12.
Alfama also picked up gongs for Best Music & Original Composition with the song Lá vai ela, while Castelo scooped the award for Best Costume Designs and Beato Best Sets.
This year, Lisbon Câmara splashed out grants of 30,000 euros for each Marchas Populares Collective representing each of the 20 traditional Lisbon bairros or neighbourhoods.
The Marchas, which
file down Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade, had a distinctly traditional and historical flavour with themes ranging from Lisbon’s maritime heritage, to the 400th anniversary of the birth of Father António Vieira, and the 120th anniversary of the birth of poet Fernando Pessoa. António Vieira (1608-1697) was a writer, orator, missionary, defender of the Jews and outspoken critic of the Inquisition.
The Arrival of the Portuguese Royal Family in Brazil (200th anniversary) and the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue were other themes.
The 12 St. Anthony’s Day newlyweds also paraded down the Avenida to the applause of locals and tourists alike to mark
the 50th anniversary year of the Saint Anthony’s Day Weddings (1958) where 12 Lisbon couples traditionally have their weddings paid for by the city authorities.
Talking to The Resident, arbitration jury member Mafalda Sebastião explained how the Marchas Populares’ tradition, started in the Salazar era in the 1930s, was still alive and kicking today.
“Although the event was primarily political back then, today it has other very human objectives to do with neighbourly get-togethers, friendly competition, organisation and work, and of course the cultural aspect,” she said.
“What is surprising is how many young people, who may not have been traditionally born and bred in a particular bairro, are getting involved (in the Marchas Populares), although it still largely involves traditional working class families,” she added.
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]