Luís de Camoes was known to be an adventurer. Among his many escapades include surviving a shipwreck in the region of Cochinchina (now known as Vietnam), and losing an eye while in battle in Ceuta. Legend has it that in order to save the Lusiadas, Camoes had to keep it afloat with one of his hands, while he used his other arm to swim through the unforgiving waters of the region’s seas. His patriotism and bravery are just a few of the qualities Luís de Camoes had that made the nation chose to celebrate Portugal Day in his honor.
Portugal was conquered by Spain in the year 1580. It is quite ironic that the nation lost its independence in the year that saw the death of Camoes. Three generations and sixty years of Spanish rule after, Portugal regained its independence in Decmber 1, 1640. Since then, the country’s national day was established and subsequently celebrated on June 10. It is because of uncertainties on Camoes’ birth date that Portugal Day was established to commemorate the hero’s death.
The celebrations involve various military ceremonies, exhibitions, concerts, pageants and parades, and an awards ceremony by the President of the Portuguese Republic. Every year, the President chooses a city to host the official celebrations.