On Monday, May 16, the Azorean people will celebrate the – ‘Day of the Azores’ – a public holiday established in 1980, dedicated to honor Azorean self-rule as granted in the Portuguese Constitution of 1976, following the Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974.
Designated ‘Dia da Região Autónoma dos Açores’ (Day of the Autonomous Region of the Azores), the holiday also celebrates the historical, cultural and social affirmation of the Azorean people.
Presided this year by the President of the Government of the Azores, Vasco Cordeiro, the ‘Day of the Azores’ is marked by various festivities held on all the nine islands of the Azorean Archipelago.
The celebrations do not always occur on the same date each year. The date is movable to coincide with the first Monday following the Sunday of Pentecost, which sets the beginning the Azorean traditional Holy Ghost festival cycle.
One of the highlights of the celebrations is the bestowing of honors to distinguished Azoreans, personalities and institutions who have contributed to the wellbeing of the Azores and its people.
This year, 26 personalities together with 12 institutions will be honored, among them former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres (1995-2002), also the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2005-2015), and Nuno Brito, former Portuguese Ambassador to the United States (2011-2015). Of a total of 26 awardees, 24 are men and 2 are women.
Public office buildings on the islands of São Miguel,Terceira and Faial will be open to the public on Monday 16, namely the Palácio de Sant’Ana, office of the Government of the Azores (São Miguel), and the Regional Legislative Assembly (Faial).
For the occasion, the national postal service, Correios de Portugal, S.A. (CTT), will launch a special philatelic issue dedicated to the natural beauty of the islands and the Azores as a touristic destination.
The 500,000 stamps issued by the CTT, together with 80.000 stamp booklets, will display local touristic attractions such as hiking, walking & trailing, whale watching, diving, surf and cannoning.
While each year celebrations are held on each one of the nine islands of the Azores, every year one of the islands is selected to hold the official ceremonies. This year, the ‘Day of the Azores’ will be held in Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel island.
LIST OF AWARDEES
OUTSTANDING VALOUR AWARD
- António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres
- D. António de Sousa Braga
- Carlos Alberto da Costa Cordeiro
- Eliseu Pereira dos Santos
- Gustavo de Fraga (posthumously)
- José Avelino Bettencourt
- José Germano Rego de Sousa
- Mário Jorge Rodrigues Machado (posthumously)
- Nuno Filipe Alves Salvador e Brito
- Paulo António de Freitas Valadão
- Sílvio Manuel Frias Nogueira
PROFESSIONAL MERIT AWARD
- Carlos Manuel da Silva Medeiros
- Duarte Manuel Pimentel (posthumously)
- Germano Silva
- João Resendes Nunes Corvelo
- José Francisco Machado Silva
- Manuel Inácio Nunes (posthumously)
- Tomás Alberto Freitas Azevedo
- Zilda Terra Tavares de Melo França
INDUSTRIAL, COMMERCIAL AND AGRICULTURAL MERIT AWARD
- Eduardo Ribeiro
- Manuel de Barcelos Silveira Bettencourt (posthumously)
CIVIC MERIT AWARD
- Ana Raymundo da Cunha Sieuve de Menezes da Rocha Alves (posthumously)
- Casa dos Açores no Algarve
- Casa dos Açores em Lisboa
- Casa dos Açores do Norte
- Clube de Atividades Gímnicas de Ponta Delgada
- Filarmónica de Nossa Senhora das Neves
- Futebol Clube Marítimo Velense
- Futebol Clube Urzelinense
- Grupo Desportivo Velense
- Hélio Costa
- Instituto de Apoio à Criança – Açores
- Instituto Histórico e Geográfico de Santa Catarina
- João Carlos Tavares
- José Mendonça de Inês
- Junta Regional dos Açores do Corpo Nacional de Escutas
- Luís Gil Bettencourt
- Rádio Difusão Portuguesa – Antena 1 – Açores
The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.