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Oporto - Portugal

Crowds on the street, basil plants with popular proverbs, plastic hammers, festivities around the city — these are just some of the elements of Europe’s most enjoyable popular festival.


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The evolution of tradition

The event evolved from a pagan festivity - celebrating the worship of the sun god, harvests and abundance - to a Christian festival commemorating Saint John that draws more than 200,000 people a year.
Initially celebrated on the night of 23 to 24 June, the popular festivity has seen its official programme extended to about a month, with several entertainment initiatives, starting with music and dance parties and ending with fireworks over the Douro river.

Saint John’s Little Hammers

Saint John’s Little Hammers

They’ve become the trademark of this popular festival and everyone uses them: everywhere you turn, people are being hit on the head with small plastic hammers (martelinhos), a sign of good luck.
You might also your time to launch hot air balloons, jump over a fire, offer manjericos (small vases of basil) with popular proverbs or watch the fireworks over the river.

Practical Information

On Saint John’s festival, the traditional food includes roasted peppers, corn bread and wine. Tradition also dictates that everyone should eat roasted lamb on the 24th of June.
Website: www.porto.pt