Portuguese American Journal

May 20th | Azores Day symbolizes self-rule and cultural identity – Horta, Faial

On May 20th, the people of the Azores celebrate “Azores Day” or “Dia da Região Autónoma dos Açores” (Day of the Autonomous Region of the Azores).

This public holiday, observed throughout the nine islands of the archipelago, commemorates self-rule, identity, and pride, symbolizing the affirmation of the Azorean people’s unique culture, way of life, unity, and community.

The celebration date is movable and typically falls on the first Monday, following the Sunday of Pentecost, coinciding with the beginning of the  Azorean traditional Holy Ghost festival cycle. Official celebrations of the Azores Day occur each year on a different island and are presided by the President of the Government of the Azores.

This year, the official Solemn Session commemorating the Day of the Autonomous Region of the Azores is held at the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of the Azores (ALRAA) in the city of Horta, Faial Island.

President José Manuel Bolieiro

The session begins at 10 am, local time, with speeches by representatives of the Legislative Assembly’s Groups and Parliamentary Representations. This will be followed by addresses from the President of the Regional Government of the Azores, José Manuel Bolieiro, and Luís Garcia President of the Legislative Assembly.

During the ceremony, 31 Azorean Honorary Insignia will be awarded by the Presidents of the Legislative Assembly and the Regional Government, recognizing individuals and entities for their “personal, or institutional merits, acts, civic achievements, or services provided to the Region.”

The awards include two Autonomous Insignia of Valor, ten Autonomous Insignia of Recognition, two Professional Merit, three Industrial, Commercial, and Agricultural Merit, and 14 Autonomous Insignia of Civic Merit. The ceremony will conclude with the Horta Choral Group performing the hymns of the Azores and Portugal.

After the Solemn Session, the celebrations continue with the traditional free lunch, open to the community, consisting of Soups in Honor of the Divine Holy Spirit, served at the Polivalente de Pedro Miguel and Casa do Espírito Santo, accompanied by the performance of Sociedade Filarmónica Unânime Praiense and a presentation by the local Foliões.

In the afternoon, the ALRAA headquarters building will be open to the public for guided tours. Visitors can also visit the Cedars House Gardens and the Parliament Museum during this time.

In addition, the Presidency of the Regional Government will mark the Azores Day with a public viewing of the government headquarters in the Sant’Ana and Conceição Palaces, in Ponta Delgada, and the Capitães-Generais Palace in Angra do Heroísmo. These activities are free and do not require prior registration.

The festivities extend throughout the weekend. On Sunday, May 19th, the concert “Blue Sea Project – Marés em 9 Cantos” will kick off the celebrations starting at 9:30 pm, at Teatro Faialense. The event is free and open to the public,  but subject to availability. Tickets are available at the Horta Municipal Market kiosk or the Teatro Faialense ticket office on the concert day. The sequence of events will be broadcast live worldwide.

The commemorative program also includes the opening of the exhibition “Louvor ao Divino” by Margarida Madruga on Saturday, May 18th, at 7 pm at the Parliament Museum.

The Day of the Autonomous Region of the Azores was established in 1980 by the Legislative Assembly and the Regional Government of the Azores, following a deliberation by the Azorean Parliament through the Regional Decree n. º 13/80/A, to honor Azorean identity and autonomy.



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.

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