terça-feira, 17 de junho de 2008

Portugal Day - 10th June

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 “Lusiadas”, Portugal's national epic 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 traveling, 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.


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