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events and holiday calendar for lisbon area

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January


January 6, Epiphany: Always celebrated on January 6. The season of Epiphany lasts until the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). It celebrates the revealing of Jesus’ as the Messiah to Christians and there are many festas around Lisbon for this holiday.


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February


February 3 to March 9, Carnival: The exact date depends on the year, but this is the general time that Portugal as a whole celebrates carnival. There are famous more Rio-style carnival processions with floats, music and costumes in Lisbon, Loule, Nazare and Viana do Castelo, but they are small affairs and by no means comparable to what is found in Brazil.



February to March, International Festival of Classic Guitar: This festival brings swarms of classic guitar players offering traditional Portuguese guitar performances all over the city. The exact dates changes year to year.


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March


February 3 to March 9, Carnival: The exact date depends on the year, but this is the general time that Portugal as a whole celebrates carnival. There are famous more Rio-style carnival processions with floats, music and costumes in Lisbon, Loule, Nazare and Viana do Castelo, but they are small affairs and by no means comparable to what is found in Brazil.



March to April, King Juan Carlos' Cup: An international sailing regatta takes place along the coastline of Cascais and Estoril. The exact dates changes year to year.



March, EDP Lisbon Half Marathon: More than 25,000 runners visit from all over the world to run along the Tejo River. The exact dates changes year to year.



ModaLisboa Fashion Week: For over 20 years the talent of Portuguese designers gives the public a sneak-peek into the fashions of next Fall and Winter. This was one of the pioneer fashion weeks that followed Paris, Milan, New York and London, and which are now appearing in every major city around the world. The exact dates changes year to year.


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April


April to May, Lisbon Golf Coast Festival: One of the biggest golfing events in Western Europe. The exact dates changes year to year.



Late April, Lisboa International Triathlon: An exhausting sporting event that brings challengers to Lisbon to compete in swimming, running and cycling events. The exact dates changes year to year.


Eleven days at the start of April, Lisbon Fish Festival: This festival celebrates the great food speciality of Lisbon, fish, in its diverse preparations, recipes and side dishes. There are tastings, live cooking demonstrations and entertainment at the Pavilhão de Portugal in the Nations Park, and in 2011 there are added events in Praca do Comercio at the the Pátio da Galé,

www.peixemlisboa.com


Late April, Festival Music Days in Belém: More than 70 performances in six different rooms at the BCC (Belem Cultural Center), this festival is predominantly oriented to classical music, from Bach to John Cage, from Mozart to Thierry Pécou, from Avondano to Nuno Côrte-Real, and welcomes other musical expressions, such as jazz and improvised music, still giving a wide expression space to Portuguese musicians.

www.ccb.pt

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May


April to May, Lisbon Golf Coast Festival: One of the biggest golfing events in Western Europe. The exact dates changes year to year.


First two weeks of May, IndieLisboa: One of the most important independent Portuguese film festivals which brings film makers, international critics and film lovers from all over the world. The exact dates changes year to year. www.indielisboa.com


May to June, Feira do Livro- Book Fair: Portuguese come from all over the country, some wheeling suitcases to stock up on the discounts and to carry away signed copies by famous authors. Held outdoors, within the centrally located Eduardo VII Park.

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June


May to June, Feira do Livro- Book Fair: Portuguese come from all over the country, some wheeling suitcases to stock up on the discounts and to carry away signed copies by famous authors. Held outdoors, within the centrally located Eduardo VII Park.


June to September, Bullfighting Season: Kicking off at the Campo Pequeno arena of Lisbon, bullfights (corridas de touros) are not accepted in some parts of Portuguese society. To that extent, bullfighting has seen a decline in the number of spectators. However, southern and central regions of Portugal, such as Ribatejo and Alentejo, and Terceira Island in the Azores, are traditionally more interested in the bullfights, which is arguably more humane. In Portugal's northern regions, bullfighting has little or no presence.


Most Portuguese bullfights  are held in two phases: the spectacle of the cavaleiro, (horseman) followed by the pega, (kind of like rodeo clowns). In Portugal, the main stars of bullfighting are the cavaleiros, as opposed to Spain, where the matadores are the most prominent bullfighters. Nevertheless, bullfights with matadores are frequent, notably with Portuguese matadores who practice their trade in Spain and who, when in Portugal, replace the sword in their final strike with a bandarilha.


June 13 to mid July, Festas de Lisboa, or Feast of S. Antonio

Street entertainment, festivals, cinema, music and theatre, parades and folk festivities are just some of the events planned for Lisboa’s days and nights throughout the summer. The historic districts, and avenues are full of locals and visitors for the parties, dancing, Fado music and local foods, where the grilled Sardine reigns supreme in the Alfama quarter. For Christians who began this celebration centuries ago, it also recognizes the feast of S. Antonio of Padua, (actually from Lisbon) which starts on June 13th. It is traditional to hold a collective wedding ceremony on this day, where the brides are known as “Brides of Santo António”, and , a long procession through the Alfama. The party, events and festivities linger until the start of July.

www.festasdelisboa.com


The Corpo de Deus (Corpus Christi) festival: Held on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday or, in some places, on the following Sunday. Its celebration falls on a Thursday and Lisbon’s city streets witness processions and celebrations happen all over the country in honor of the Eucharist. This holiday does not commemorate a particular event in Jesus' life. The exact dates changes year to year.


Early June, Rock in Rio-Lisbon: The largest rock festival in the world that takes place in Brazil, Portugal and Spain, with about 1.2 million total concertgoers last year, of which about 350,000 where in Lisbon. Held at the Parque the Bela Vista in Lisbon it attracts some of the biggest names in Rock and popular music.

www.rockinrio-lisboa.sapo.pt/


All June, Alkantara Festival: An alternative visual art festival of sorts with exhibitions and performances in theaters around the Alcantara neighborhood, with the artsy LX Factory as the default epicenter of activity.


All June, Lisbon Village Festival: A small but very interesting film festival held around town at a variety of cinemas, and similar venues where a variety of films for all ages are presented. There are forums, question and answer sessions and the chance to meet some of the actual filmmakers.


June and July, European Wave Freestyle Funboard Championship: Top surfers from all corners of the globe converge near Sintra at Guincho Beach to ride the super-tubers and compete in a variety of events.


June and July, Super Bock Super Rock: Lisbon’s city parks become the concert venues for bands from around the world. The event culminates with headliner acts appearing at the Parque das Naçoes, (Nations Park)and at Estádio José Alvalade (Alvalade Stadium).


Late June to July, Cascais International Sailing Week: Sailing competitions along the Tejo River and in the scenic area around Cascais.


Late June to July, Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays): By far one of the more unusual festivals in Portugal and held only held once every four years. Just an hour north of Lisbon in the small village of Tomar you will catch hundreds of young girls walking through the streets with enormous baskets and blankets of flowers, breads and other items wrapped and balanced on their heads.


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July


June to September, Bullfighting Season: See the month of June above for a full description.


End of July to Mid August, Oceans’ Festival: A thrilling tour of the seven seas, made on dry land. It will attract thousands of locals and visitors to the Tagus riverside area where they can watch concerts, urban interventions on the theme of oceans, multimedia shows and musical pyrotechnics.

www.festivaldosoceanos.com


First week of July, The Festa do Colete Encarnado the small town of Vila Franca de Xira hosts a running of the bulls  bull-through the central streets like in Pamplona Spain.


July and August, Estoril Classic Music Festival: World famous classical music festival happens in conjunction with the town's Handicrafts Fair.


July to September, BaixAnima Street Festival: Catch some very eclectic live music, fringe theatrical productions, and street performers as the downtown Baixa streets becomes a circus of sorts.


All July, Festival de Sintra (Sintra Music Festival): Classical  concerts take place in the hilltop town of Sintra around the Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre.


All July, Jazz on a Summer's Day: Jazz concerts on the streets and in venues happen around Lisbon, just up the coast at Cascais and Estoril.


One week between July to Early August, Lisboa Mágica: Magicians from all over the world come to Lisbon to give free street performances. Catch some of the most original and fun street magic anywhere as talented conjurers entertain audiences in open squares and street corners.


Late July to early September, Estoril Crafts Fair: A very popular crafts fair at the expo grounds near the the Casino Estoril. Meet with artists and pick up the deals on Portuguese handicrafts.


June and July, European Wave Freestyle Funboard Championship: Top surfers from all corners of the globe converge near Sintra at Guincho Beach to ride the super-tubers and compete in a variety of events.


June and July, Super Bock Super Rock: Lisbon’s city parks become the concert venues for bands from around the world. The event culminates with headliner acts appearing at the Parque das Naçoes, (Nations Park)and at Estádio José Alvalade (Alvalade Stadium).


Late June to July, Cascais International Sailing Week: Sailing competitions along the Tejo River and in the scenic area around Cascais.


Late June to July, Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays): By far one of the more unusual festivals in Portugal and held only held once every four years. Just an hour north of Lisbon in the small village of Tomar you will catch hundreds of young girls walking through the streets with enormous baskets and blankets of flowers, breads and other items wrapped and balanced on their heads.


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August


June to September, Bullfighting Season: See the month of June above for a full description.


International Jazz Festival at The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation: The program includes concerts by world acclaimed musicians from the contemporary Jazz scene.

www.camjap.gulbenkian.pt


End of July to Mid August, Oceans’ Festival: A thrilling tour of the seven seas, made on dry land. It will attract thousands of locals and visitors to the Tagus riverside area where they can watch concerts, urban interventions on the theme of oceans, multimedia shows and musical pyrotechnics.

www.festivaldosoceanos.com


August 6, Festival of Our Lady of Seafarers: The the small seaside village of Cascais, located 30 minutes away from Lisbon, is where an annual homage to Our Lady of the Seafarers, the patron saint of Cascais fishermen takes place. Images of saints carried through the town's streets and then on to fishing boats. There is also a also running of the bulls, music, fireworks and food tents.


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September


June to September, Bullfighting Season: See the month of June above for a full description.


Mid September to Mid November, ExperimentaDesign: A cultural biennale dedicated to design, architecture and contemporary creativity held every two years. Multidisciplinary, inclusive and groundbreaking, it presents brand-new content in several formats: exhibitions, urban interventions, lectures and debates that intensify Lisbon’s cultural life and promote its creative potential.

www.experimentadesign.pt


Mid-September, Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Queer Lisboa): For almost 20 years now this festival has brought audiences from all over the world.  It is one of the most important exhibition vehicles in Portugal of alternative cinema, provoking numerous debates on a number of central themes in the Portuguese contemporary society. Held at the Cinema São Jorge with over 100 fils every year.

www.queerlisboa.pt/site_en

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October


11 days at the end of October, DocLisboa: The only Portuguese competitive festival entirely dedicated to documentaries. it will bring the best of the contemporary national and international production offering 11 days of an intensive program. Doc Lisboa also focuses on breaking new ground and on the great diversity and vitality of this cinema of reality.

www.doclisboa.org


Two weeks between late October and early November, The National Gastronomic Festival of Santarem: What began in 1980 as a friendly gathering of a few restaurants from neighboring provinces, has become a major fair of tented stalls selling cured hams and rounds of cheeses of every size, links of sausages stuffed with pork and spices, breads, jars of honey from the mountains and every Portuguese delicacy imaginable. Each day of the event is dedicated to different a region and its food culture, but the focus of the festival are the 25 restaurants from across Portugal, where for less than the price of a lunch you can eat your way through the best that Portugal has to offer.

www.festivalnacionaldegastronomia.com


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November


November 1st, All Saints' Day, or All Souls' Day:  Celebrates all saints, but specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died, and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven. This is a national holiday in Lisbon and also a historical reminder of the terrible earthquake of 1755.


Last week of November, Arte Lisboa: International Art Fair gathering the most prestigious art galleries in Europe thus promoting Contemporary Art in Lisbon. One of the most important objectives for is to stimulate the development of patronage and artistic production. Held in the In the Parque das Naçoes, (Nations Park) of Lisbon.
www.artelisboa.fil.pt


Two weeks between late October and early November, The National Gastronomic Festival of Santarem: What began in 1980 as a friendly gathering of a few restaurants from neighboring provinces, has become a major fair of tented stalls selling cured hams and rounds of cheeses of every size, links of sausages stuffed with pork and spices, breads, jars of honey from the mountains and every Portuguese delicacy imaginable. Each day of the event is dedicated to different a region and its food culture, but the focus of the festival are the 25 restaurants from across Portugal, where for less tan the price of a lunch you can eat your way through the best that Portugal has to offer.

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December


December 1, Independence Day: Between 1580 and 1640 Portugal was governed by the same monarch who governed Spain, briefly forming a union of kingdoms. In 1640, John IV spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king. The Portuguese Restoration War between Portugal and Spain on the aftermath of the 1640 revolt, ended the sixty-year period of the Iberian Union under the House of Habsburg. There are parades and celebrations in Lisbon on this day.


December 25, Dia do Natal (Christmas Day): Less comercial than in other parts of the world. For the Portuguese this is a family festival with a tradition of burning a Christmas oak log to ensure good fortune.


December 31, Vespera de Ano Novo (New Year's Eve): Celebrated nationwide with fireworks, concerts. Tradition calls for the eating of 12 grapes as the clocks strike midnight. There are several places to catch celebrations but most notably at the Belem Tower and Praca do Comercio.
www.visitlisboa.com


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National Holidays


New Years Day - January 1

Carnival Tuesday (February or March) - the day before Ash Wednesday

Easter Good Friday (March or April)

Liberty Day - April 25 to celebrate the 1974 revolution

Labor Day - May 1

Corpus Christi (May or June) - the ninth Thursday after Easter

Portugal Day (Camoes/ Community Day) - June 10

Assumption - August 15

Republic Day - October 5 commemorates the declaration of the Portuguese republic in 1910

All Saints' Day - November 1

Independence Day - December 1 celebrates the 1640 restoration of independence from Spain

Immaculate Conception - December 8

Christmas Day - December 25.

       

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