What is the Festival of St John of Porto?
For five weeks and finally culminated on June 23, thousands of tourists flock to the Festival of Saint John of Porto. The Portuguese celebration dates back to the 14th century, and in modern times the tradition is to barbecue sardines all over the city, with loud music and entertainment.
Other traditional foods include "caldo verde" (a shredded green cabbage soup), lamb and roasted pepper salad, a creamy custard or St John's cake, and of course, Port.
The city is decorated with balloons made of multi-colored paper and you'll also see large, inflatable hammers wielded by festival-goers, and hitting each other on the head. Getting hit yourself is inevitable, so don't be surprised! This is also part of the tradition, and they are available for purchase in the city.
If you can stay awake, at midnight there is a fireworks display over the Douro River.
Ultimately, the festival is a fun day of festivities where everyone can enjoy food and drink in a good atmosphere.
Need to Know
This is an incredibly popular festival, so make sure you book transportation and accommodation well in advance.
Did you Know?
St. John’s festival began in the XIVth century as a pagan festival held in honor of the sun god and in commemoration of harvests and abundance. Later the Catholic Church christianized the party in commemoration of St. John, the patron saint.
Coronavirus is causing a number of event cancellations; we provide event website links on each page for you to check the latest updates.
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