Azores Day in Portugal
Azores Day, also known as "Dia dos Açores" in Portuguese, is a regional holiday celebrated in the Autonomous Region of the Azores, an archipelago in Portugal. This special day is dedicated to the history, culture, and achievements of the Azorean people and their homeland.
Azores Day is observed on the Monday following Pentecost Sunday, which is the 50th day following Easter Sunday. The date varies each year due to the calculation of Easter, typically falling between mid-May and mid-June.
Azores Day was officially established in 1980, following the approval of the Autonomy Statute of the Azores by the Portuguese government. The Autonomy Statute granted the Azores a significant degree of self-governance, recognizing the unique cultural and historical identity of the region. The first Azores Day was celebrated on June 9, 1981, marking the first anniversary of the statute's approval.
National customs for Azores Day in Portugal
On Azores Day, the President of the Regional Government of the Azores delivers a speech highlighting the importance of regional autonomy and the achievements of the Azorean people. The day is a public holiday throughout the archipelago, with schools, businesses, and government offices closed in observance.
The celebration of Azores Day often includes cultural and sporting events, such as concerts, art exhibitions, and traditional Azorean games. In addition, communities throughout the islands come together to organize local festivities, showcasing their unique customs and traditions.
Local customs for Azores Day in Portugal
Each island of the Azores has its own customs and traditions, which are proudly displayed during Azores Day celebrations. Some islands host traditional bullfights, known as "touradas à corda," where bulls are led through the streets by a rope, while spectators attempt to dodge the charging animals.
Other islands celebrate Azores Day with religious processions, honoring saints and local patronesses. These processions often include the display of intricate flower carpets, created by locals using petals and leaves.
In addition to the local customs, Azorean gastronomy plays a significant role in the celebrations. Traditional dishes, such as "cozido das Furnas" (a meat and vegetable stew cooked underground using volcanic heat) and "queijadas da Graciosa" (sweet cheese pastries), are enjoyed throughout the festivities.
Azores Day is a significant regional holiday in Portugal, celebrating the unique history, culture, and achievements of the Azorean people. The day allows the inhabitants of the nine islands of the archipelago to come together and showcase their customs and traditions, while also commemorating the autonomy granted to the region in 1980. As the date varies each year, the spirit of Azores Day remains constant, as a reminder of the proud heritage and unity of the Azorean people.