Lisbon’s craziest night: June 12, Eve of Saint Anthony (Santo Antonio, Feast Days of the Popular Saints), grilled sardines & naughty lyrics (Pimba musica)

In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities that take over the city’s historical center.

Mouraria Saint Anthony June 12 16 Beco do jasmim

Mouraria Lisbon June 12 2016: Beco do Jasmim: wonderful atmosphere & salsa dancing

On the eve of Saint Anthony day, June 12Lisbon turns into one big party!  festas de Lisboa ; program ; facebook

Mouraria Lisbon Santo Antonio street party June 12 2016

June 12, 2016 : Lisbon’s craziest night of the year in historic area Mouraria, Lisbon. Picture: Hans Stuij

Eating, drinking and dancing together in the streets

Festas de Lisboa June 12 2015 Mouraria1

June 12: Lisbon’s craziest night of the year in historic area Mouraria: party time! 🙂

Rua da Guia, Lisbon, close to square Martim Moniz: metro, tram and bus station

Festas de Lisboa June 12 2015 sardinhas Luc Erika

June 12, 2015 & Lisbon’s Eve of Saint Anthony

Traditional grilled sardinhas (sardines) & Erika Reusens and Luc de Leersnyder

Lisbon Mouraria historical area in June party time

June 12, 2015: Lisbon’s craziest night of the year

Historical area Mouraria, Rua Guia, Lisbon drinking and dancing in the streets

Lisbon Festas populares Santo Antonio craziest night of the uear 2015

June 12, 2015 & Lisbon’s Eve of Saint Anthony parade in de streets of Mouraria

2016 parade historical area Mouraria (YouTube)

Yearly parade

At Avenida da Liberdade, from around 8h30 pm June 12, there will be the yearly parade, with people dressed up in beautiful costumes.  Each group represents a Lisbon neighborhood and there is a winner for the best song and costumes. There’s also the Saint Anthony’s brides (mass marriages).

YouTube yearly parade

Mouraria Lisbon 2016 Santo Joao

June 2016, feast days of the popular saints in historical area Mouraria Lisbon

Saint João 😉 😉 (sponsor is Sagres, a Portuguese brand of beer)

Saint Antonio June 2016 Feikje Mouraria Lisbon

Lisbon June 16 2016 Saint Antonio street party Mouraria

bar Flamingo & Dutch friend Feikje Stuij

Lisbon Festas Santo Antonio June 12 Libon Erika Reusens

Saint Antonio street party Mouraria Lisbon, bar Flamingo & friend Erika Reusens

In this area in Mouraria: my 3-bedroom apartment with quiet sunny patio (30 m2) in this old neighborhood , free Wifi, BBQ: 6 persons can sleep comfortably, short term rentals)

Santo Antonio Bica party

Bica district Lisbon, famous funicular near Bairro Alto – partying in the small street, it’s hard to walk there! R. da Bica de Duarte Belo 

The narrow streets in Bairro Alto (at night) are filled with people in a party mood, enjoying a whole lot of caipirinhas and mojitos on the bar-lined hills. Every bar and club in the district shuts its doors and moves its drinks to the windows, or on to tables outside.

Lisbon Santo Antonio restaurant Paladar

Bairro Alto historical area Lisbon

Drinks & sardinhas (sardines) with traditional bread

Lisbon Santo Antonio Trindade Pimba music

Largo da Trindade – people are dancing on Pimba music

Pimba music – songs frequently driven by metaphors with sexual meanings

Pimba is a term used for a variety of popular Portuguese folk solo singers and bands whose songs are frequently driven by metaphors with sexual meanings.

Pimba music: ‘Quero cheirar teu bacalhau Maria’  ( I would like to smell your codfish Maria 😉 😉  by Quim Barreiros

Lisbon santo Antonio Alfama BBQ

Historic area Alfama & BBQ in the street

Lisbon’s craziest night: YouTube in one of the historical parts of Lisbon: Alfama

Santo Antonio Lisbon June 12 2015 Mouraria Grupo desportivo 2

‘Marchas popularas’ Mouraria area Lisbon 2015. Picture: Luc de Leersnyder

All the streets are decorated with garlands and lights, from Castelo to Mouraria, Graça to Alfama, and Ajuda to Bairro Alto. Barely a street escapes as paper lanterns, streamers and coloured lights are hung from balconies and railings.

Lisbon Santo Antonio June Sardinhas

Historical area Mouraria in June

Sardines (sardinhas) & the Saint festivities belong together

There’s also the grilled sardines, you can smell it everywhere in the streets! It’s not a good time for sardines 😉 though as everywhere in Lisbon you see people grilling sardines outside their homes and the narrow streets fill up people in party mood.

Lisbon Santo Antonio basil plants with poems

Manjerico (basil), a symbol of affection & love poems

As a symbol of affection, people present each other with little pots of basil (manjerico) and paper carnations on which they write poems.

Manjerico basil Festas de Lisboa gift R June 2

Pot of basil with love poems, a gift from a nice friend…. 🙂

não digas que não amas –  “do not say you don’t love me
pois tens a voz a tremer –    because your voice is trembling
quando um não proclamas – when one does not proclaim
um sim pretender dizer” –  it is “yes” you mean to say….

During the month of June there are many stalls in the city where you can buy the pots with basil (from 5 – 15 euro) and a selection of poems with various texts

Lisbon Santo Antionio Church candles

Santo Antonio (better known as Saint Anthony of Padua)

Saint Anthony: matchmaker, protector of young brides and patron of the lost and found, was actually born in Lisbon, on the site of this church, Largo Santo Antonio à Sé, Alfama.

mass marriages Lisbon St. Anthony’s Weddings

Mass marriages known as “St. Anthony’s Weddings”

Held during the mid-June St. Anthony’s Day celebrations.

More…. YouTube

Lisbon Saint Antonio June 12 2015 Rossio

Lisbon, Eve of Saint Anthony festivities 2015. Picture: Luc de Leersnyder


11 Responses to “Lisbon’s craziest night: June 12, Eve of Saint Anthony (Santo Antonio, Feast Days of the Popular Saints), grilled sardines & naughty lyrics (Pimba musica)”

  1. Your pictures really capture the atmosphere. Next year I hope to go over when the festival is on as I think it would be a true Lisbon experience 🙂

  2. […] Partying in the small street around the famous Bica funicular, near Bairro Alto , one of the best spots in Europe for a night out. In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities that take over the city’s historical center. On the eve of Saint Anthony day, June 13th, Lisbon turns into one big party! More…. […]

  3. […] Alto, Rua da Atalaia, June 2009. June is the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints). The Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities that take […]

  4. […] The month of June is party time in Lisbon! One of Portugal’s most popular saints, Santo António (Saint Anthony of Padua), was a Fransiscan friar canised by the Catholic Church in record time, one year after his death (on June 13, 1232). Many miracles have been attributed to him and he is considered a protector of the souls of purgatory, guardian of good marriages, defender of animals, healer, and advocate of lost objects. On the eve of June 13th Lisbon (and in all of Portugal) turns into one big party, the craziest night of the year! […]

  5. […] Lisbon’s Craziest Night […]

  6. St. Anthony of Padua Pray For Us..

    Does anyone know the name of the naked female saint that was in the
    St. Anthony June 13th Parade in Lisbon this year. We have pictures but no one knows who it is? Please Email me at — Please Do not reply unless you really know. Thank you..

  7. Dzien dobry.Gratuluje bardzo dobrze napisanego posta.Sporo mozna znalezc w necie na ten temat ale tym artykulem autor wszystko przedstawia jak trzeba.Dzieki!

  8. Liliana Maria dos Reis Silva on November 11th, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Dou os meus parabéns ao criador desta página sobre a cidade de Lisboa, no meu maravilhoso país(Portugal).Todos os estrangeiros ficam encantados e maravilhados, mas portugal tem muito mais em outras cidades para se ver, porque cada cidade tem a sua tradição e hábitos.
    Obrigada Meysam Maleki

  9. […] Feast of St Anthony. Head to the Avenida da Liberdade for the procession, then up winding hilly lanes of Mouraria or Alfama. Grab your piece of St Anthony’s Bread, but don’t eat it – instead, take it to the nearest church, scribble down a prayer, and put it with all the others. There’s plenty to eat though, as long as you like sardines. Stay out of the expensive restaurants, and get them from somewhere where you can sit on a plastic stool and watch the activity. Eat them simply grilled with lots of lemon (and chase the kids around with their skeletons when you’re finished.). Ooh – and expect to see lots of brides, and if someone gives you a pot of basil, that means you’re next. Lovely blog post to get you in the mood here. […]

  10. […] Lisbon in June, I would spend hours rambling in Alfama’s labyrinths. Luckily, there was the Feast of St Anthony taking place exactly at that time I was there in Alfama which made my strolls even more […]

  11. […] spoke English, and she has an Air B&B flat in the area. She speaks English and invited us to Santo Antonio day on – 10 June!! That`s so soon!! And she`s gonna take […]

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