In Portugal, the month of June is a time to celebrate popular saints with religious and festive celebrations. Perhaps the largest, most fun and silliest festival can be found in Porto…the Festival of São João de Baptista. Activities include traditional to current musical concerts, boat races, parades, art exhibitions, and a giant fireworks spectacular. In 2016, the São João festival runs from 20 May to 26 June.

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Festa de São João do Porto has been celebrated in Porto for more than six centuries. Originally, an event reserved solely for the night of 23 June, the festival of the 21st century now lasts longer than six weeks.

Porto Sao Joao 2015

Many traditions are found in this festival. At neighborhood parties, it is common to see guests jumping traditional bonfires. In the city, revelers roam the streets hitting each other on the head with plastic hammers. In the window sills, potted basil plants are set out with traditional verses from Portuguese literature.

See the full program of events and activities for 2016 São João here:


Perhaps the pinnacle of festival season is on the night of 23 June. At midnight, boats crowd the Douro River, and crowds the north and south banks to watch a spectacular fireworks display.

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