São João’s night: Getting hammered in a partying Porto
Although the main reason for my recent trip to Porto was my Tascas project – a documentary photography project about traditional taverns in Portugal – I happened to plan things in order for me to be able to stay until after São João’s night.
São João is part of the so called Santos Populares (=Popular Saints) along with Santo Antonio and São Pedro. The Popular Saints are celebrated in June, more or less everywhere in the country, with festivals, fairs, cultural and folklore events, and parades.
The two biggest festivals are Santo Antonio in Lisbon and São João in Porto. Both cities have a month-long schedule filled with events, normally rolling from the beginning of June to the beginning of July. While Santo Antonio’s celebrations in Lisbon peak on the 12th of June with the Marchas Populares (=Popular Parade) where folklore groups from the various historical bairros (=neighbourhoods) take to Avenida da Liberdade for a show of music and dance, Porto reaches its highest point on the 23rd of June with the midnight fireworks show. Grilled sardines and pork meat are a common theme between the two feasts, but what sets São João apart is its plastic hammers (read the captions to the photos below). For further reading on the festival head to this São João quick guide written by my friends Ricardo and Roger from The City Tailors – a Porto tour company. Although I was told that the festival is relatively unknown out of Portugal, I still saw many international tourists partying that night, so I assume it’s getting more and more famous. Surely it’s great fun and you should try it next year!
Now, on to the photos…
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