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The celebrations of São João in Oporto | Portugal

Oporto’s São João is the equivalent saint of Lisbon’s Santo António. The celebrations begin in early June with the preparation for the São João Waterfalls (“Cascatas de São João”), a competition open to the general public and a tradition that goes back as far as 1869, that consists in the creation of structures made of several miniature figures, portraying episodes of São João’s life. The “Cascatas” are shown in specific places all over the city, to the general public, until the end of the month.

Throughout June you may also attend several concerts and dance to the rhythm of the lively popular music that can be heard at the many local parties (“bailaricos”) spread throughout the city. On the 22 of June, the famous traditional parade called “Rusgas” takes place. Each district in Oporto walks down the Avenida dos Aliados, one of the city’s largest avenues, from 6pm onwards, dressed in original costumes and to their own specific anthem, portraying parts of the city’s local traditions.


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The fireworks released from the beautiful Dom Luiz I bridge and from several other different spots nearby along the Douro river, is one of the night’s highlights, followed by a slow walk (interrupted by several distractions along the way) from the Ribeira to the Foz area. During the evening there are also several concerts and popular local parties all over the city.

And if you really want to be a part of the celebration, don’t forget to take a little plastic hammer along you, an essential item so that you can bang on the heads of people you cross paths with on that specific night!

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