Marchas de São João, Porto

It seems as we travelled through Portugal we are following the route of the Festivals of the Patron Saints. We managed to discover the Festival of São João who is the patron saint of the port in Porto, the main festival happens the 23rd-24th June but what we saw was spectacular.

Across the Douro River as we sat in Riberia enjoying dinner we heard the large beating drums coming from Gaia, with hundreds of people cheering, singing and bright shinny lights we decided to follow the beating drums.

There is a parade of the communities of Porto who join together to sing and dance different songs that a traditional Portuguese songs that celebrate the life São João. Needless to say I am still singing those songs in my head.  


The parade is full of over the top vibrant traditional costumes weaved with symbols of the festival such as Manjerico Pot Plants, Boats, Shells, Fish and items that are important to the sea.  These costumes are wonderful to discover something outrageous and different, nothing that I have seen in my research as a costumier after all these years, I wanted to speak to all of them to learn about their costume inspiration and make my own, I just love the Folklore that runs through Europe. It was an eye opening experience to be part of.


The dance performance where great to watch as they were are unique and traditional to Portugal. All ages where involved in these performances from little children to ladies with walking sticks, it was great and enjoyable for all ages. 

What a wonderful little part of the festival we got to discover and spend the evening with the locals enjoying what life is like in June in Porto, I can only imagine how great the festival of São João must be.

For more on the Marchas de Sao Joao have a look at the website.


The Parade that begins the Festival of Sao Joao in Porto. Here are some little clips of watching the wonderful costumes and culture which celebrates life in Portugal.