Today, on the 10th of June, Portugal is celebrating its National Day, also known as “Dia de Portugal” or “Portugal Day.”
This day is marked by various celebrations taking place worldwide in the Portuguese diaspora, including in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Africa.
The significance of June 10th commemorates the death of Luís de Camões, a renowned Portuguese poet and author of “Os Lusíadas,” Portugal’s national epic, and honors the Portuguese communities abroad.
The official program of events for 2023 began on June 5th in South Africa, where a delegation headed by the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, visited the expatriate community of 300 thousand Portuguese and their descendants. The official visiting delegation included Prime Minister António Costa, Minister of Foreign Affairs João Gomes Cravinho, and other dignitaries.
The official celebrations will conclude in Peso da Régua, a municipality in northern Portugal, where the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Minister of Foreign Affairs João Gomes Cravinho will preside over the national ceremonies.
In the United States, Portugal Day is being celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the month of June. Major festivities and cultural events are taking place from coast to coast. To participate in the events of June 10th, Day Of Portugal, consult the list of events of your community.
The city of New York is honoring June 10th by illuminating the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the longest bridge in the state of New York, with the colors of the Portuguese national flag. The lighting ceremony, which includes the raising of flags, was promoted by the association “New York Portuguese American Leadership Conference” (NYPALC).
The Vice-President of the Government of the Azores, Artur Lima, traveled to the United States of America, on behalf of the President of the Government, to be present at the sessions of the proclamation of the Day of the Azores in the Assembly and Senate of the State of California, as well as in the ceremonies of the Day of Portugal.
In Canada, the month of June is celebrated as “Portuguese Heritage Month” to honor the heritage of half a million Luso-Canadians with many events showcasing the Portuguese rich history, language, and culture.
Google Doodle has also joined in the celebration by adding June 10th to its list of dates to commemorate. This year, the Google Doodle honors the Portuguese style of “azulejo,” which is a form of decorative ceramic tilework. Google Doodles are known for their decorative changes to the Google logo that celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists and scientists.
In 2021, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced a resolution to the 117th Congress, supporting the designation of June as “Portuguese National Heritage Month.” The resolution, co-sponsored by Congressman David Valadao (R-CA), recognizes and celebrates the historic, cultural, and significant contributions Portuguese Americans have made to the United States.
Since 2016, the Day of Portugal has been officially celebrated in Portugal and in different locations, across the world, including Lisbon and Paris in 2016, Porto and Brazil in 2017, the Azores and the United States in 2018, and Portalegre and Cape Verde in 2019. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were limited celebrations in 2020, with only a symbolic ceremony at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon. In 2021, the 10th of June was celebrated in Madeira, but without celebrations abroad.
Traditionally, the June 10th celebrations in Portugal and abroad, honor Portuguese heritage and culture through concerts, exhibitions, parades, theater plays, cinema screenings, documentaries, seminars, traditional fairs, and literature sessions. These initiatives also pay tribute to Portuguese artists and their contributions.
The Day of Portugal is a national holiday celebrated by the Portuguese nation every year on June 10. Officially designated ‘Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities’ [Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas], the date also celebrates the life of Luís de Camões, Portugal poet laureate. He died on June 10th, 1580.
Camões is celebrated for having composed The Lusiads, Portugal’s national epic poem celebrating the country’s historic achievements. The poem is considered to be the most important piece of Portuguese literature and has become a symbol of national pride.
The celebrations involve various military ceremonies, exhibitions, concerts, pageants and parades, and an awards ceremony by the President of the Portuguese Republic. Each year, the President chooses a city to host the official celebrations.
For the Portuguese people living abroad, Portugal Day is the time to display their heritage and ethnic pride. It is estimated that over 5 million Portuguese nationals live abroad, about 1.4 million living in the United States, with a large percentage coming from the Azores. Presently, there are sizable Portuguese American communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, California, and Hawaii.