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25th of April – make this long weekend in Lisbon absolutely revolutionary

25th of April – make this long weekend in Lisbon absolutely revolutionary

A girl celebrating the Portuguese Revolution in Lisbon.

Alright, boys and girls, it’s time to find the revolutionary in you and join the Portuguese Revolution celebrations. Sing along and know where to go if you want to have a good time while diving in Portuguese history. It is the most authentic experience if you’re studying in Lisbon at this time of the year, for sure. 

The 25th of April is part of Portugal's history
The Portuguese army marched through the streets of Lisbon with red carnations during the  revolution

So, what is the 25th of April all about? Well, it’s about celebrating the day that brought down the right-wing dictatorship that lasted nearly fifty years. Does it get any better than this? Yes, it does. It all started with the radio playing a song called E Depois do Adeus, by Paulo de Carvalho. This was the first signal for the Portuguese army to start taking positions. Later that night, at the second signal, Grândola Vila Morena by Zeca Afonso, the troops in Lisbon marched through the city to force the government to resign. The revolution is known as Revolução dos Cravos, which means Carnations’ Revolution, because the Portuguese troops marched with red carnations in the barrels of their guns. Talk about flower power!

Zeca Afonso in the streets of Lisbon
The words of a famous song by Zeca Afonso. ‘In every street corner, a friend’

But now that you know the story behind it, it’s time to join the crowds and celebrate, like any Erasmus student would. Get a red carnation (I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people selling it in the streets) and head to the city centre!

Because music played a big role in the revolution, there are a lot of concerts taking place. This year, in an initiative called Liberdade para Dirigir, you can be a maestro and direct an orchestra at Largo da Graça (on the 19th), Praça do Oriente (April 20th), Jardim da Estrela (April 21st), Largo Trindade Coelho (April 22nd) or at Lisbon Airport (April 23rd).

Street art in Lisbon
Street art in the Bairro Alto to celebrate the 25th of April

On the big day, there are several events taking place. If you’re in the mood for a morning jog, there will be the Corrida da Liberdade (Freedom Run) at 10:30. It happens every year and it will end at Restauradores. If you’re not feeling an athlete, you can just go chill in the park Jardim Mário Soáres, where a party will be held. In the afternoon, you can visit Museu do Aljube and check the exhibitions, photographies and music on the topic of resistance and freedom. Afterwards, and if you want to see what the City Hall is like inside, go to Paços do Concelho and check it out. On the 25th of April, you can visit it for free.

On the 25th of April thousands gathered to force the Portuguese government
People gathered in the streets to support the military movement in 1974

No matter what you do, just enjoy the holiday and remember that from now on the 25th of April will never look the same to you.

See Also

(Photo Credits in order of appearance: the amazing cover photo by Giodi; Iberian Proteus; Mário Tomé; and the final historic photo by Estúdio Horácio Morais)


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