Party time in Lisbon as capital celebrates its patron saint

Festivities today centre on Santo António marriages

The Santo António Marriages, with 16 couples from nine Lisbon parishes,  as well as a parade of 24 marches on Avenida da Liberdade, mark the main day of the city’s festivities today, ahead of municipal holiday tomorrow (Tuesday).

According to EGEAC – the municipal company that manages cultural entertainment – this year there were 33 applications for the iconic ‘Marriages of Saint Anthony’, a tradition that began in 1958, at the time sponsored by Diário Popular.

Starting at 11:30 this morning, Lisbon Cathedral will host 11 couples, and Paços do Concelho will host another five for both religious and civil ceremonies.

Participants, all of them Lisbon residents, have an average age of 34 and “professions as diverse as doctors, firemen, drivers, administrative staff, salesmen, education assistants, lawyers and researchers”, says EGEAC.

With the great involvement of the civil society, the initiative is sponsored by dozens of partners, which covers everything from the bride and groom’s clothes to the wedding, reception and honeymoon.

From 9 pm., when dozens of festivities will already be underway across the city, Avenida da Liberdade will be filled with music and colour in the parade of marches, starting with the Lisbon Schools and A Voz do Operário (children), followed by the Markets and Santa Casa, adds Lusa.

The 20 marches will descend the avenue, passing: São Domingos de Benfica, Mouraria, Penha de França, São Vicente, Belém, Graça, Alfama, Bairro da Boavista, Lumiar, Bairro Alto, Santa Engrácia, Madragoa, Olivais, Alto do Pina, Alcântara, Bica, Ajuda, Marvila, Castelo and Carnide.

The theme of this year’s Grand March is Parque Mayer, where the first march competition took place in 1932.

Although there is an overall winner, there are prizes for many categories, such as Best Choreography and Best Costume.

The Lisbon Metro will be running an extended service at almost all stations on the Green and Blue lines until 3am tomorrow, with six-car trains.

Only Avenida station will close at half past midnight. The Yellow and Red lines will also operate at their usual times (until 1am).

Bus company Carris is being reinforced: between midnight and 6am tomorrow, running the 201 (Cais do Sodré – Algés), 207 (Marquês de Pombal – Lumiar) and 210 (Santa Apolónia – Oriente Station).

According to local PSP police, policing too will be ‘intesified’, as well as certain roads cut ( Marquês de Pombal, Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo and Rua Braamcamp) to assure the circulation of public transport.

Only CP – Comboios de Portugal – riven by recent strikes appeared to make almost no concessions: the train timetable on the Sintra/Azambuja and Cascais lines will be the “same as on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays”, says the carrier, meaning almost non-existent..

The official program of the Lisbon Festivities, available on EGEAC’s website, began on June 1 and includes more than 40 artistic events over the month.

Source material: LUSA