June 10th celebrations focused on Pedrógão Grande, Figueiró dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera

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This year’s Portugal Day celebrations will take place in Pedrógão Grande, Figueiró dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, the municipalities hit by the 2017 fires, plus Leiria and Coimbra, and will extend to Switzerland, according to the program being prepared.

At the end of a preparatory meeting that brought together today in Marinha Grande mayors of the Intermunicipal Community of the Region of Leiria (CIMRL) and members of the Civil and Military Houses of the President of the Republic, the head of the Civil House, Frutuoso de Melo, told the Lusa news agency that on June 8 the celebrations of the Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities will take place in Leiria.

On the 9th, the celebrations will continue in Figueiró dos Vinhos, where a military exhibition will be on display, and Castanheira de Pera, where the diplomatic corps will be received.

Also on June 9, according to the program being worked on, the national flag-raising ceremony will take place at the memorial to the victims of the 2017 fires, erected next to National Road 236-1, in the Pobrais area of Pedrógão Grande, with the official ceremonies for Portugal Day, on June 10, taking place in this municipality.

Frutuoso de Melo also said that a solemn session commemorating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Luís de Camões would be held at the University of Coimbra that day.

The celebrations extend to the Portuguese communities in Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland, on June 11 and 12.

When he became head of state in 2016, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa launched, in conjunction with Prime Minister António Costa and with the participation of both, an unprecedented model of double celebrations of June 10, first in Portugal and then with Portuguese communities abroad.

On June 27, 2023, the President of the Republic argued that the celebration of Portugal Day in 2024 should be held in the area affected by the great fires of Pedrógão Grande.

“This sign of life [for the territory affected by the fires] could be […] the coming together of municipalities here in the Center, to prepare the celebration of Portugal Day, with the main point being these three municipalities [Pedrógão Grande, Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos], but covering the intermunicipal community,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, at the ceremony to honor the victims of the 2017 fires, next to the memorial, where the names of the 115 dead victims of that year’s fires appear.

The fires that broke out in June 2017 in Pedrógão Grande and spread to neighboring municipalities killed 66 people and injured 253 people, seven of them seriously.

The fires destroyed around half a thousand homes and 50 businesses.

More than two thirds of the fatalities (47 people) were in vehicles and were surrounded by flames on the National Road 236-1, between Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos, in the northern interior of the Leiria district, or on access roads to that road.

The fires of October 2017 in the Central region caused 49 deaths and around 70 injuries, as well as the total or partial destruction of around 1,500 homes and more than 500 businesses.

CIMRL includes the municipalities of Alvaiázere, Ansião, Batalha, Castanheira de Pera, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Leiria, Marinha Grande, Pedrógão Grande, Pombal and Porto de Mós.

In 2023, the celebrations took place in Peso da Régua and with the Portuguese communities in South Africa, in 2022 in Braga and the United Kingdom, in 2021 only in Funchal due to the pandemic, in 2020 in Lisbon also because of covid-19, in 2019 in Portalegre and Cape Verde, in 2019 in Ponta Delgada and the United States, in 2017 in Porto and Brazil and in 2016 in Lisbon and France.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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