Liberty Day in Portugal
Liberty Day is a holiday celebrated every year in Portugal on 25 April. It commemorates the day the country’s dictatorship was ended, paving the way to democracy. The coup that was led by the country’s military took place in Lisbon in 1974.
It is one of the most important days in modern Portuguese history as it is famous for toppling an authoritarian government and ending fascism in Portugal with barely any violence. It also led to a new democracy and was nicknamed the ‘Carnation Revolution’.
The revolution was undertaken by young army officers who took less than 24 hours to bring down Europe’s longest dictatorship - nearly five decades from 1926 to 1974. The military forces quickly overwhelmed the government, sparking spontaneous demonstrations in the street where civilians ran out to mingle with the soldiers, despite being ordered to stay inside.
At the time, seasonal carnations were being sold everywhere in Lisbon’s famous central flower market and many of the jubilant crowds put them into the soldier’s gun barrels, inspiring the name ‘Carnation Revolution’ to describe this virtually bloodless uprising. Many said the atmosphere was more like a party – and the Portuguese people are still immensely proud of how this day transformed society. The coup brought democracy and civil liberties to the Portuguese people and the withdrawal of Portugal from its African colonies.
Freedom Day – ‘Dia da Liberdade’ has become a national holiday celebrated across the country, especially in Lisbon. It is also remembered in more than 1,150 streets, avenues and plazas which are all called ‘25 de Abril’ and the former Salazar Bridge which crosses the river Tejo in Lisbon was renamed ‘Ponte 25 de Abril’.
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Published in: Guide to Portugal / Miscellaneous / Portugal Property / Portuguese Life