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June, 10: Portugal Day

June 10 - Portugal Day

Portugal Day (Portuguese: Dia de Portugal), officially Dia de Camões, de Portugal e das Comunidades Portuguesas ("Day of Camões, Portugal, and the Portuguese Communities"), marks the date of Luís de Camões' death in June 10, 1580 and is Portugal's National Day. Camões wrote the Lusiads, Portugal's national epic poem celebrating Portuguese history and achievements. Although it is only officially celebrated in Portugal, Portuguese descendents throughout the world celebrate the holiday whether they live in Brazil, India, the US, Canada, another European country, or Macau. The poem is mainly about the 16th century Portuguese explorations, which brought fame and fortune to Portugal. Camões' poem, considered one of the finest and most important works in Portuguese literature, became a symbol for the greatness of the Portuguese nation. Camões was an adventurer, lost one eye fighting in Ceuta, wrote the Portuguese epic poem Os Lusíadas while travelling, and survived a shipwreck in Cochinchina (present-day Vietnam). According to popular lore, Camões saved his epic poem by swimming with one arm while keeping the other arm above water. Camões became a national symbol. Yet, in the year of his death, Portugal lost its independence to Spain and was ruled by three generations of Spanish kings. Sixty years later, in December 1, 1640, the country regained its independence. Since then, because Camões' date of birth is not known, the date of his death is celebrated as Portugal's national day. During the authoritarian Estado Novo regime in the 20th century, Camões was used as a symbol for the Portuguese "race". In 1944, at the dedication ceremony of the National Stadium, António de Oliveira Salazar referred to June 10 as Dia da Raça - the Day of the Portuguese Race. He believed that the Portuguese had a single and common ancestry and the notion of a Portuguese "race" served his nationalist purposes. Because of that, the June 10 celebrations were officially suspended during the Carnation Revolution in 1974. After 1974, the 10th of June celebrations resumed to include celebrating the Portuguese emigrants living all around the world (Comunidades Portuguesas, Portuguese communities).

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Greeting cards: Portugal Day

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