Portugal Day Celebrations
The awards and recognitions provided to various achievers form the crux of Portugal Day celebrations. The President also inspects the troops and praises their contribution to national issues. There are parades by the military. Orchestras and fireworks are traditional parts of the festivities.
Open air parties also happen where people come out on the streets and welcome each other. In case nothing special is happening people spend the day eating, singing, drinking and taking part in fun sports.
The Portuguese regard this day as one to remember their roots, get together and have fun. People normally prefer to listen to Portuguese music and tasting their favorite dishes on this day. People also read Os Lusiadas, the national epic poem of Portugal on this day.
The event is celebrated with great pomp in Toronto, Canada where the indigenous Portuguese hold a number of events. The festivities last for a week and end with the Portugal Day Parades at Dundas Street, Little Portugal. The parades normally conclude close to Trinity Bellwoods Park where concerts and various other cultural events take place. The Portugal Day Parade is among the top three street festivals in Toronto.
The Portuguese diaspora at US and UK also celebrate the day in a grand manner. Weeklong meetings are held along with art exhibitions, special breakfasts, folk festivals, sports tournaments and similar events.
Portugal Day History
The Dia de Camoes, de Portugal e das Comunidades Portuguesas marks the death of Luis de Camoes on this date in 1580. Camoes had written Os Lusiadas, which is the national epic poem that celebrates the achievements and history of Portugal.
When Camoes passed away Philip II of Spain, who was known as Philip I of Portugal, was the ruler. Since Philip I was the only heir three generations of Spanish monarchs ruled the country. On 1st December, 1640 Portugal got backs its independence after throwing out the then Spanish king. John of Braganca became John IV of Portugal, the new ruler of Portugal.
Since then Spanish kings have tried several times to reclaim Portugal but have failed. From that time the day of death of Camoes, who has become symbolic with Portuguese nationalism, has been celebrated as the national day of the country because his date of birth remains unknown.
During the dictatorial regime of Estado Novo Camoes was referred to as the symbol of the Portuguese nation. In 1944 at the National Stadium dedication ceremony 10th June was referred to as Dia de Raca, or Day of the Portuguese Race, by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.
The celebrations were suspended officially when the Carnation Revolution took place in 1974. After 1974 the celebrations started to include Portuguese people living all across the world.
Challenges facing Portugal
The dispute between Portugal and Spain regarding the territory named Olivenza is a major issue. This situation is a result of the misinterpretation of the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz and the 1815 Vienna Congress. Drugs have been a major problem for this European country as well.
In recent times it has confiscated record amounts of Latin American cocaine headed for Europe. It has been a European getaway for heroin from southwest Asia and a transshipment point for North African hashish, which is sent to Europe. Southwest Asian heroin is also consumed in Portugal.