Lisbon’s Popular Marches apply for national list of intangible cultural heritage


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Lisbon’s Popular Marches are candidates to be included in the national list of intangible cultural heritage, with the aim of historical recognition and also of preserving this popular tradition, the City Council announced today.

In a press release, the municipality announced that the Marches’ application to be included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage is being promoted by the Association of Collectivities of the Municipality of Lisbon (ACCL), with the support of the city’s 28 collectivities that annually prepare and present the marches in June and the municipality.

“The inclusion of Lisbon’s Popular Marches on the List of the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage will not only recognize their historical and cultural importance, but will also contribute to the preservation and promotion of this unique tradition that enriches Portugal’s cultural heritage,” said the City Council.

According to the municipality, the application involved two years of scientific research, led by anthropologist Marina Pignatelli, from the University of Lisbon, which included dozens of interviews, observations in the communities and the collection of hundreds of written, photographic and audiovisual documents.

The mayor, Carlos Moedas (PSD), quoted in the note, stressed that the marches represent much of the “soul and history of the city of Lisbon”.

“Thousands of people, many of them tourists, visit us every year and watch this unique parade of pride and identities from our neighborhoods and parishes, which represents a unique moment in our Lisbon Festivities. It’s been nine decades of a tradition that we must do everything we can to defend, maintain and give the deserved and fair recognition,” he added.

Lisbon’s Marchas Populares are “a festive and neighbourly celebration of extraordinary importance”, characterized by dancing in a parade, accompanied by music, poetry and song.

The representatives of the participating neighbourhoods, a total of 68 people per neighbourhood, include 50 marchers, a standard-bearer, eight musicians (known as “Cavalinho”), a pair of godparents and mascots, five water-carriers, a rehearser and a march organizer from each community.

“This tradition dates back to the High Middle Ages and evolved from the traditional June festivals until it became the way it is known today. The innovative creativity, exuberance and joy present in Lisbon’s Marchas Populares represent a deeply marked feature of the city’s popular culture,” said the municipality.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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