Holiday. Portugal Day.
When? June, 10.
Where? Portugal and everywhere Portuguese communities are present.
The meaning and history. On the 10th of June Portugal celebrates the Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities. It marks the death of the national literary icon Luís de Camões, a 16th century poet who wrote the epic poem “Os Lusíadas” which celebrates the country’s achievements during the maritime discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries. Camões is Portugal’s Shakespeare and his influence is so profound that Portuguese is sometimes called the "language of Camões".
How it is celebrated. This holiday celebrates three aspects of Portugal: the country, the language and the emigrants. The celebrations usually involve a speech by the President, military parades and all kinds of cultural events such as concerts and art exhibitions. Also around this date the highest literary prize is awarded, the “Camões Prize”; in 2017 novelist and poet Manuel Alegre was the recipient. Although it’s an official holiday only in Portugal, it is celebrated by the Portuguese Communities all over the world as a day to remember their heritage and culture, and celebrate their mother language. Portugal has always been a country of emigrants and there are very large communities for instance in France, Luxembourg, the United States, Venezuela and, of course, in our brother country Brazil. It’s usually a day with good weather so many people gather with friends and have grilled sardines, the Portuguese barbecue classic.
Portuguese in Carinthia. Daniela Silva (33) moved to Austria from Alcobaça (Portugal). She has been living in Villach since 2012 with her partner Lino Alves, also from Portugal. Daniela is a translator and since 2016 she has been teaching Portuguese to the two Portuguese children that attend the International School Carinthia. “It has been very rewarding to be able to help them keep in contact with their mother language. It’s important that the children can have this experience, since the Portuguese community in Carinthia is so small otherwise they would only speak the language with their parents and one or two other people”, Daniela tells. “We train the writing and reading skills using some of the books I also read at school and that are now part of the Portuguese literary culture, such as “A Menina do Mar” (The Girl from the Sea). In our classes we also talk about Portuguese history and traditions, the kids like it a lot. And actually one of them has his birthday on the 10th of June!” Regarding her life in Villach, Daniela says she is very satisfied: “I love it here, it’s a small city, very much like my birth city, and the surrounding landscape is just gorgeous. I do miss the ocean and the traditional food, which is very hard to get here. Whenever we can, we bring with us some “bacalhau” (cod fish preserved in salt) and prepare one of the many delicious recipes from home.”