St. Martins Day

11th November 2017 | Lisbon, Portugal

About St. Martin’s Day

St. Martin’s Day, or Dia de São Martinho, is a popular celebration held on 11th November which ties in with the harvest of wine in Portugal. The festival, which is celebrated in many European countries, is named after St. Martin, a Roman soldier who cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar to save him from death on a freezing winter’s night. The Portuguese celebrate with a magusto - a gathering to build a large bonfire on which they roast the chestnuts which have been recently harvested and taste the first wine of the season. This gave birth to the popular Portuguese saying: “It is St. Martin’s Day, we’ll eat chestnuts, we’ll taste the wine!”

Helpful information about St. Martin’s Day

St. Martin’s Day takes place each year on 11th November across the country. The festivities take place in small villages as well as large cities such as Lisbon and Porto. You’ll find that many local restaurants and bars will be serving special menus and hosting St. Martin’s Day events. An alternative is to head to one of the many vineyards or wine merchants as they are likely to be holding tasting events for the season’s first wine. Whichever option you choose, make sure you buy a dozen chestnuts from a local seller as you’re heading to the magusto of your choice.

Making the most of St. Martin’s Day

As well as eating newly-harvested roasted chestnuts, the Portuguese traditionally indulge in a glass or two of água-pé. This light tipple, whose name means ‘foot water’, is made from adding water to the grape skins after they have been trampled on to press the wine. Although it’s rare to find outlets selling água-pé (it’s banned for sale), you can still track it down in small shops. A popular alternative is the slightly stronger jeropiga, which can be bought in supermarkets.

Where to stay in Lisbon for St. Martin’s Day

Get the most of your visit to Portugal’s capital city by staying in the perfect rental accommodation for you. At Eventful Stays, you can choose to stay in townhouses, bed and breakfasts, apartments, poolside studios or on all types of boats…all close to the old quarters of Lisbon via public transport or on foot. Check out our accommodation in Lisbon.

Things to do near St. Martin’s Day in Lisbon

While you’re in Lisbon, make sure you find time to see some of the spectacular sights of this vibrant city, including Largo do Carmo, Igreja da Sao Vicente and Jeronimos Monastery.

More information about St. Martin’s Day

To find out more information about this historic event, please contact the Portuguese Tourism Board’s official website where you’ll be able to check out which magusto to attend, find out more about the history of St. Martin’s Day and find a list of local wine merchants.

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