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Lisbon’s events calendar


February/March The Carnival has been revived recently with Brazilian-style parades and costumes, mainly at Parque das Nações.

March/April Annual Super Bock Super Rock festival with local and international bands in various venues (whttp://www.superbock.pt).

May The five-day biannual Rock in Rio rock festival (even years; whttp://www.rockinrio-lisboa.sapo.pt) takes place in Parque Bela Vista to the north of the centre.

June Street-partying to celebrate the saints’ days – António (June 13), João (June 24) and Pedro (June 29). Celebrations for each begin on the evening before the actual day. The main festival is for Santo António, a public holiday when the whole city is decked out in coloured ribbons, with pots of lucky basil on every window sill. There are festivals in each district on the evening of June 12, as well as the main parade down Avenida da Liberdade. The best street party is in Alfama, with food and drinks stalls in just about every square. On June 13, the “Brides of Santo António” sees a collective wedding ceremony at the Igreja de Santo António. In Sintra, the main festa is for São Pedro, starting on June 28.

June/July A state-run handicrafts fair, with live folk music, is held in Estoril on the Avenida de Portugal, near the Casino. A similar event occurs during the same period at FIL (whttp://www.fil.pt), the main exhibition hall at the Parque das Nações, when international and Portuguese regional crafts are displayed and offered for sale. Also these months see the Sintra Music Festival with adventurous performances by international orchestras, musicians and dance groups in parks, gardens and palaces in and around Sintra, Estoril and Cascais. An offshoot of the festival is the “Noites de Bailado” held in the Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval near Sintra train station, a series of ballet, dance and operatic performances, again with top international names.

July A beer festival is held in the Castelo do São Jorge, with handicrafts, medieval markets, food stalls and lots of ale (whttp://www.centralcervejas.pt).

July/August The big annual Jazz Numa Noite de Verão (jazz on a summer night) festival is held at the Gulbenkian’s open-air amphitheatre (whttp://www.musica.gulbenkian.pt), with a similar event in Cascais. Also in August, the Oceans Festival has a series of concerts, environmental awareness events and fireworks at various riverside venues.

September The Lisbon marathon traces a route across Ponte Vasco da Gama with a finish in Parque das Nações (whttp://www.maratonclubeportugal.com).

November 11 Celebrated by the traditional tasting of the year’s wine downed with hot chestnuts, in memory of Saint Martinho, who shared his cape with a poor man.

December The build-up to Christmas begins in early December with Europe’s tallest Christmas tree filling the centre of Praça da Comércio. Distinctive hooped bolo-rei (dried-fruit “king cake”) appears in shops and pastelarias. Christmas Day itself remains a family affair, with traditional midnight Mass celebrated on December 24, followed by a meal of bacalhau. The best place to head for on New Year’s Eve is Praça do Comércio, where fireworks light up the riverfront. There are similar events at Cascais and the Parque das Nações.

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