Portugal Day: 10th of June

June 7, 2024

Flag of Portugal waving against blue sky background. Celebrating Portugal Day and the unity of the Portuguese people.

Portugal Day celebrates the unity and heritage of the Portuguese people

The arrival of June brings with it several important events and celebrations. One of these celebrations is the 10th of June, which marks the celebration of an essential date that unites everyone and everything: the Day of Portugal, Luís de Camões, and the Portuguese Communities.

Let's begin by delving deeper into the significance of this holiday and understanding the life of Luís Vaz de Camões and his renowned work, "Os Lusíadas," which has become a national symbol. Camões is regarded as the greatest figure in Portuguese literature. He was born in the first half of the 16th century, around 1524, and passed away on June 10th, 1579, or 1580. Although much of his life is shrouded in mystery, it is known that he spent most of his time in Lisbon and learned Latin in Coimbra. He was also a member of the court and worked as a lyric poet, but his careless lifestyle led him to self-exile in Africa. As a soldier in the Portuguese army, he lost his right eye, which forced him to return to Portugal. However, he traveled again, this time to the Orient, towards India, where he wrote "Os Lusíadas," a work he almost lost at sea. This epic work encompasses three dimensions: the council of the gods, remembrance of historical past, and the voyages of the navigators. It incorporates various themes, including the significance of both emotional and rational values and the greatness of those who fight and conquer.

The 10th of June was also a landmark day in Portugal during the New State (in Portuguese, Estado Novo) regime led by António de Oliveira Salazar. It was celebrated and widely covered by the media. Until April 25, 1974, this day was known as the Day of Camões, or "Race Day: the Portuguese race or the Portuguese". The latter title was created by Salazar in 1944 when the Jamor National Stadium was inaugurated. In 1963, June 10th became a tribute to the Portuguese Armed Forces and was used to glorify the war and colonial power. In 1978, the Third Republic changed the meaning of the day to the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities, with a different philosophy. Nowadays, we seek to celebrate the proximity, unity, and cooperation between Portugal and all the Portuguese communities around the world.

This year's celebrations for this special day will take place in Pedrógão Grande, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Castanheira de Pera, which were devastated by the fires in 2017, as well as in Leiria and Coimbra. The University of Coimbra is also planning a formal ceremony to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Luís de Camões.