for those of you who don’t speak the language, “a bica está em festa” means “bica is celebrating!”. bica is the name of one neighbourhood in lisbon, a very typical one as alfama, mouraria, graça, and so on, and as a typical neighbourhood, it’s already prepared to receive a full month of popular celebrations! the thing is that in june the whole city celebrates its city holiday, saint anthony’s and with all this comes what we call “santos populares“, which means something like “popular saints”. the whole city comes out to the street to celebrate on the night before the city holiday, on june 13th.
i think that sardines on corn bread and beer is the most popular combo, either on the street or the restaurants. and then my friends… is party all night long. every neighbourhood has live music or just music playing from the windows, and some of those narrow streets are really crowded during that evening. but from my experience, you can avoid extremely crowded streets if you choose carefully the neighbourhood to celebrate with your friends! and for a few years bica has been my choice! bica is small for what i know, and the main street is this one below with the yellow tram! this street has several bars and small restaurants and it’s perfect to be outside chatting with your friends, while you listen to the music coming out from windows and those bars.
during the day bica has some tourists because of this yellow tram going up and down, and the street itself is full of typical aspects like the black lamps, crocheted curtains, small doors, clothing lines… and when you explore more, you find yourself on not so narrow streets, but oh so typical. and it gets even more typical with all the garlands, banners and flower decor that come out with these popular celebrations. i see these streets and these details, and all i can think of is summer nights, sardines, salad, beer and friends hanging out together. i believe that even the city smells differently during this time of the year. it’s all about the celebrations!
as i may have shared last year, another thing happening in lisbon during these celebrations are the popular marches organized by each neighbourhood, which will compete with all the others. of course that there are some neighbourhoods known for this event as they win quite a lot, year after year, but it’s quite interesting to notice that among such a beautiful and modern city, one that has won several prizes for european getaways, it’s also so traditional and particularly on this day, each neighbourhood is like a village itself. people living on those neighbourhoods usually have a strong bond with it and wouldn’t move to any other place in the city.
and another thing that has become a tradition is that in the previous months to this celebration, there is a competition about sardines. as the sardine is the actual symbol of these celebrations since 2003, illustrators and designers from all over the country and the world as well, are invited to draw a sardine and make it special. you can check the ones that entered the competition here and the winners here!
and these are the stories for today! not a local markets feature, but stories from lisbon to celebrate this month of celebrations! so as i told you i’m going away today on vacations, this is the post that i leave you with, so that you can feel the excitement about being in lisbon in june! as usual, the blog will be quiet for a few days, but i hope to come back with lots of new photos from the so called paradise! enjoy and once again thank you so much for all your support!
ps. check the new prints on the shop!