Santo António of Lisbon, also know as Saint Anthony of Pádua, was a portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born in August, 1195 and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in June 1231 in Padua, Italy. He was the second-most-quickly canonized saint after Peter of Verona. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946. He is also the patron saint of finding things or lost people.
Due to its enormous popularity, his day is celebrated with great feasts in all parts of the world where devotion has taken root, moving pilgrims, sacred and secular institutions as well as trade. In the cities where the celebrations are traditional, hotels, inns and restaurants get fully booked and shops offer souvenirs of various types, which are sold by the thousands. In Portugal stands out the party in Lisbon, his hometown, every year in June.
The Santo António’s feast takes place in Avenida da Liberdade (Lisbon). It fills up with thousands of people to see the neighbourhood’s (bairros) parade. The party reeks of sardines and “Valentine´s herb” (Manjerico). According to the manjericos tradition, during the celebrations of the Saints, in June, the boyfriend offers to his girlfriend one manjerico, a little potted plant of newly sprouted Basil. In addition to the plant, the vessel also carries a paper-mache flowers and a small flag with a popular verse allusive to love. The traditional meal is grilled sardines and toasting to the Santo António with friends and red wine. Savour the corn bread, bread with chorizo and green hot broth (caldo verde), in between dances, talks and other games around the neighbourhood. People make promises, in the hope of finding true love. Santo António has the devotion of brides, “if the blessed Santo António / this year gets me married / I’ll be back next year / to put flowers on his altar” (“Se o bendito Santo António / este ano me casar / cá voltarei para o ano / pôr flores no seu altar”). There are weddings celebrated in the Cathedral. the manjerico graces the throne of the existing Saint in each neighbourhood. There are parades, processions, fairs, festivals, bands, theater, street entertainment, carousel and food stalls. Lisbon’s neighbourhoods show a colorful parade to match the festive behaviour in honor of Santo António. Everything fits together, comes together.