Portugal celebrates Liberty Day on April 25th. It’s a national holiday marking the military coup of 1974 that brought democracy and civil liberties to the Portuguese. Liberty Day begins at dawn when the President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Prime Minister, António Luís Santos da Costa, meet to officially start celebrations.
“The revolution had a deep impact on Portuguese life. Many who lived through it participate in the celebration ceremonies. On this day, it’s common to wear carnations on the lapel. Carnations became the symbol of the revolution when on the day of the revolution a flower vendor decided to give carnations away to show support. While marching through the streets, the military put the carnations in their gun barrels as a symbol of their peaceful intentions.”
In the Portuguese Parliament, a solemn session is held with “interventions from all the political parties and their representatives, followed by a speech from the Parliament President“. Then the Republic’s President delivers a speech.
Tonight, there’s a musical celebration in the park across the street from my apartment. The musicians are quite good and have a 1960s folk music sound – like The Kingston Trio or Peter Paul & Mary – if anyone remembers them…. There are also some female Fado singers. All songs are in Portuguese.
I had an interesting outing in Belem earlier today. It’s the more modern part of Lisbon. It was a little too far to walk – about 5 miles each way – so I took the tram one way and the bus back. Using public transportation turned into a long, drawn-out process. I’m not sure how the journey could have been shorter as every vehicle on the road came to a screeching halt in the gridlock, and the subway didn’t reach my destination. Despite the long uncomfortable wait, glad I spent time in Belem.
Some miscellaneous photos from the day are attached. I’m leaving Lisbon tomorrow morning for 5 days in the Azores. More posts later….