Fun and Festivals in Portugal! 

Holidays often bring to mind the Christmas markets in Europe. But there are events and festivals year round throughout the continent. Today, let’s consider the wonderful culture and activities in the very hot destination of Portugal. Speaking of the holidays, the gift of education fits everyone! And The Travel Institute has launched its annual Season of Giving opportunity, once again featuring tuition assistance for its most popular training courses for travel professionals at all levels of experience. From now until year end, The Travel Institute’s Premium Access online library, new agent training course, certification programs, and lifestyle and destination specialization courses are available at 20% off. Best of all, if you want in-depth education on selling Europe, The Institute also is offering a special three-course bundle rate for Northern, Central, and Southern Europe specializations. Be sure to sign up for Exploring the World: Where in the World Wednesdays, Part Two, presented TOMORROW at 2 pm (EST) by Travel Educator Kim Specht, CTIE. This second of three webinars focuses on the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Europe. Here is a quick peek at Portugal, courtesy of our Southern Europe Specialist Course.

The Portuguese take great pride in their cultural traditions, with folk dancing and festivals being a major part of every town’s life. A huge part of local culture is the national style of music called fado. The soulful voice of a fadista, accompanied by the unique soothing sound of a Portuguese guitar, is nothing short of incredible.

There are many celebrations and special events held throughout Portugal, particularly in June when the entire country celebrates Santos Populares (The Popular Saints): Santo Antonio (St. Anthony, June 12 & 13), São João (St. John, June 24), and São Pedro (St. Peter, June 29). These beloved saints’ feasts offer something for everyone, from parades to folk dancing, traditional food like sardines, and concerts that showcase the rich culture this country has to offer. 

Clients visiting Portugal in June are in for a treat. Here are a few more examples of other festivals the country celebrates:

    • Carnival—This big event is celebrated on variable dates the week prior to Lent. It is marked by parades, flowers, floats, masks, and festivities all over Portugal.
    • Festa da Flor (Flower Festival)—This annual two-week celebration of Madeira Island’s horticulture features classical music concerts and other entertainment.
    • Feira Nacional de Agricultura (National Agriculture Festival)—Held early June in the town of Santarém, this fair includes bullfights, folk singing, and dancing.
    • Rock in Rio—One of the world’s biggest rock music festivals is held in Lisboa and hosts many big-name artists. 
    • Festas da Nossa Senhora da Agonia (Festival of Our Lady of Agony)—This three-day festival, held the first weekend in August in Viana do Castelo, features folk art, parades, and fireworks.
    • Semana do Mar (Sea Week)—During the first week of August, the island of Faial in the Azores comes alive with thousands of visitors from around the world celebrating everything from yachting, fishing, swimming to amazing headlining concerts and renowned gastronomy. 
    • Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (St. Cristo of Miracles)—During the 5th week after Easter, thousands flood the brightly decorated streets of Ponta Delgada, in Sao Miguel Island, Azores, to pay tribute to and reaffirm their commitment to the Lord.
    • Festas das Vindimas (Grape Harvest Feasts)—The wine grape harvest is celebrated for a month from September 15 to October 15 on the island of Pico in the Islands of the Azores, as well as in Lamego and the Douro Valley in northern Portugal.
    • Feira Nacional do Cavalo (National Horse Fair)—Thousands of visitors come to Golegã for a two-week celebration of the Portuguese Lusitano horse breed. There are competitions, food, and wine.
    • São Martinho (St. Martin’s Eve)—On November 11th, the country celebrates St. Martin with bonfires, parties, chestnut dishes, and água-pé (a weak wine made from watered-down dregs). The most traditional celebrations are in northern Trás-os-MontesBeira Baixa (especially Alcains), Golegã, and Penafiel.
    • Christmas MarketsLisboa hosts several markets. The city’s main Christmas tree is at Praça do Comércio, and a 3D light show is projected onto the buildings surrounding the square. Wonderland Parque Eduardo VII is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Lisbon, with handicrafts, an ice-skating rink, a ferris wheel, Santa’s house, and a stage hosting live music and events.

Portugal makes up for its small size by having a very rich culture, built by traditions that have thousands of years of history. The Portuguese  hold on tight to their faith and their love for life. They celebrate—in every way they can—what the Earth and the ocean have to give them. When visiting this amazing country during any of these festivals, your clients will have an opportunity to truly immerse themselves into a world of thousands of years of history and culture.

We’ve only scratched the surface of this breathtaking European country. For an in-depth study, be sure to take advantage of our Europe bundle—part of our Season of Giving—before the end of the year. Good news! Successful completion of any of the Europe courses qualifies for 10 CEUs.

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