June is one of the greatest months to visit Porto!
The weather is amazing, many outdoor activities are happening, summer music festivals are on every weekend… and, on the night of June 23th, we have the biggest party in Porto, the famous São João (Saint John)!
This Catholic festivity that celebrates the birthday of Saint Jonh the Baptist actually has pagan roots! People used to celebrate the summer solstice, which is the time of fertility, the harvest, and abundance. A few decades ago, the traditions in Porto were pretty much still connected to that!
Men used to hit women on the head with “alho-porro“, a symbol of male fertility, and women used to hit men with lemon balm bouquets, which allude to the female pubic hair. It was also common to find on the streets people selling penis-shaped bread, clearly indicating the pagan traditions related to fertility!
Nowadays, traditions have changed a bit. In Porto, the Portuguese city with the biggest Saint John party, everyone launches hot air balloons into the sky and hit each other on the head with plastic hammers! People gather at the Ribeira area to see the fireworks and there are parties everywhere in town!
But there’s much more to know! In the next days, we will tell you more about this amazing celebration and its traditions. So stay tuned and learn all about Saint John Party and Porto’s culture with AtWill :)
Photos: Público|Lisboa no Guiness|Porto Lazer