Portugal Day is the official national holiday of Portugal, and it is observed on June 10 each year. In Portugal, this day is usually called ‘Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas,’ which translates to ‘Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities.’
The day is intended to remember the death of Luís de Camões, who is recognized as the country’s greatest national icon. He is most known for his poem, which narrates the story of Portuguese explorations in the 15th century and has since been accepted as a national poem in Portugal. However, because his birth date is uncertain, his death date, June 10, 1580, is commemorated as Portugal’s National Day.
History of Portugal Day
As much as he came to represent Portuguese nationalism, Camões died during the succession crisis that led to Philip II of Spain taking Portugal’s throne in 1580. However, the kingdom recovered its independence on December 1, 1640, when the Spanish were expelled during the Portuguese Restoration War and John of Bragança was crowned King John IV of Portugal.
Camões’ poem became such a powerful symbol of Portuguese heritage that it was made a national anthem and was honored by every elected government. Camões was even used as a symbol for the Portuguese people during the authoritarian regime of the 20th century.
Portugal Day has been observed every year save 1974 since its inauguration in 1944 by Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar. The Carnation Revolution, a military coup that deposed the autocratic Estado Novo dictatorship, halted the celebrations that year.
After 1974, the celebrations were expanded to include the Comunidades Portuguesas, Portuguese emigrants, and their descendants residing in communities all over the world.
The official celebrations were held in the town of Elvas for the second time since 1997, this time on July 4, 2013. As a reminder that it is also a day for the Portuguese community around the world, in 2016 the formal festivities were split between Lisbon and Paris for the first time.
Although Portugal Day is primarily honored in Portugal as a national holiday, it is also recognized as such in some other nations. They include Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Portugal Day timeline
Luís de Camões composes an epic poem titled “Os Lusíadas,” translated as “The Lusiads” that becomes a symbol of Portuguese pride.
Luís de Camões dies and the Portuguese throne is claimed by Philip II of Spain.
The Spanish are expelled and John of Bragança is crowned King John IV of Portugal.
Portugal Day celebrations are suspended for one year due to countrywide protests.
Portugal Day FAQs
What is Freedom Day Portugal?
Freedom Day, known in Portuguese as Dia da Liberdade, is a national holiday in Portugal observed every April 25. It marks the “Carnation Revolution” that took place in 1974, celebrating the end of the war and dictatorship in the colonies.
What do Portugal people celebrate?
Every community has its church processions, dance, music, fireworks, and wine to celebrate her Patron Saint and Saint’s Day.
What is Santa called in Portugal?
Santa Claus is called ‘Pai Natal’ by children in Portugal. They believe he brings presents on Christmas Eve and places them under the Christmas tree.
Portugal Day Activities
Travel to one of the world's oldest civilizations and join the people in celebrating Portugal Day. The region is home to some of the most remarkable antiquities on the earth, including the world's oldest bookstore and the longest bridge in Europe.
Explore Portuguese content
Learn more about the legend, Luís de Camões, and other explorers who brought fame and prosperity to the country. According to legend, Camões lost one eye in combat, authored the famous 'Os Lusiadas' while traveling, and survived a shipwreck. His feats are part of a long line of famous Portuguese men.
Try a Portuguese cuisine
Portuguese cuisines are an amazing treat, as the country is known for being one of the world's largest consumers of seafood. On Portugal Day, you can add some heat to your diet by eating a hot bowl of Portuguese fish soup.
5 Mind-blowing Facts About Portugal
The abolishment of slavery
Portugal was the first colonial country to abolish slavery in 1761.
The Portuguese language is very popular
Portuguese is the world's sixth most spoken language and the official language of nine countries.
The country had over 50 colonies
Portugal's colonial empire encompassed what are now 53 independent countries.
It is home to Europe’s longest bridge
With its six lanes and a cable-stayed structure across the Tagus River north of Lisbon, Portugal's Vasco da Gama Bridge is Europe's longest.
It is the oldest European country
Portugal was a kingdom for approximately 800 years, from 1139 until 1910, making it Europe's oldest nation.
Why We Love Portugal Day
It’s a national Portuguese symbol
Every Portuguese takes pride in celebrating Portugal Day by paying tribute to Camões because his poem chronicles the country's rich cultural history. The poem, which has inspired countless great deeds throughout Portuguese history, concentrates mostly on the 15th-century Portuguese discoveries, which brought fame and prosperity to the country. It is regarded as one of the best and most important works in Portuguese literature.
It is a perfect way to preserve Portuguese heritage
Every year on Portugal Day, children are told stories about Camões and how his achievements inspired numerous changes in the country. This contributes to the preservation of cultural heritage and assures that the tradition will be passed down through generations.
It is always a big party
On Portugal Day, several festivities and parties are held in Portuguese cities. Portugal Day events are also held in Portuguese communities around the world to commemorate the unique day.
Portugal Day dates