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Porto’s airspace closed for serious Sao João parties

Porto’s airspace closed for serious Sao João parties - portugal news
Porto’s airspace closed for serious Sao João parties - Portugal Business News

Portugal news – The city of Porto’s airspace was closed for serious São João parties, the yearly Festival that takes place on the night of the 23rd of June and that attracts partygoers from all over Portugal as well as tourists.


Tradition has it that on the night of São João, all roads lead to Porto where partygoers converge to flock on the streets. The streets of Porto are closed to traffic for the population to dance with the colorful São João hammers in hand, and the aroma of cooking sardines filling the air.  


Porto takes its official summer party seriously, and the Douro bridge that connects the two northern cities is the place where the two mayors greet and toast the São João festivities with Port wine. Portugal’s President of the Republic, President of the Assembly of the Republic, and Prime Minister officially join the São João festivities in Porto. Porto’s patron saint, São João is celebrated with a local bank holiday and more than 200,000 people take part in the revelry, including people of all ages since it is very much a family event.


The São João festival, that is celebrated both in the cities of Porto and Braga in northern Portugal, is an event not to be missed. The entire city of Porto celebrates the event on the streets and air-traffic comes to a stop when Porto’s airspace is closed between 9:45 pm on Sunday and 1 am on Monday, due to the launch of the typical São João balloons that illuminate the skies.   


With the onset on Summer, the population of the city of Porto converges joyfully on the streets that are decorated for a giant party, with the highlight of the event being the fireworks display that brightens the skies for 16 minutes over the Douro River at around midnight. For the São João festival, the people of Porto descend to the streets for a night of fun spent hitting plastic hammers on the heads of passers-by, or waving garlic in people’s faces, or even jumping bonfires and offering friends and relatives potted basil plants decorated with traditional poems.


In the city of Porto, the São João festivities are concentrated in three emblematic places, namely the Crystal Palace (Palácio de Cristal), the Largo do Amor de Perdição (the square of the love of perdition) and the Casa da Música (the Music house).


In Portugal’s northernmost city of Braga, the São João festivities include processions, such as the Carro das Ervas (the Herbal cart), the Dance of King David and the Carro dos Pastores (the Shepherds’ cart). The party frenzy continues with street parades and the sound of bass drums amid celebrations involving the entire city.


While the sounds of music and laughter filled the streets of Porto and Braga on the night of the 23rd of June, Summer in Portugal is a place to be, and for those who missed it this year, there is always next year.     

Video of the São João Festival in Porto:






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