A Breakdown Of Portugal’s Freedom Day & The Carnation Revolution

Celebrate Freedom Day by learning about the Carnation Revolution at parks, museums and the Ponte 25 de Abril.

Portugal’s Dia da Liberdade, or Freedom Day, commemorates the Carnation Revolution and the nation’s departure from authoritarianism which occurred on April 25, 1974. For many years, people in Portugal have been celebrating the significant events in a variety of ways, including going to parks, museums and the Ponte 25 de Abril – a bridge named after the noteworthy day – to honor the revolutionary actions of the troops.

Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution. Facebook: Visit Lisboa

While it took only one day for the Movimento das Forças Armadas, or the Armed Forces Movement, and other rebellious officers to cause members of the government to surrender to General António de Spínola, leader of the revolution, displeasure for the Portuguese officials had been building for years.

After António de Oliveira Salazar became prime minister of the Portuguese government that was established after the regime’s army overthrew the parliamentary administration, he rearranged the country’s political system to conform to authoritarian beliefs.

António de Oliveira Salazar
António de Oliveira Salazar. Facebook: HISTÓRIA

During Salazar’s regime, the ruler forbid many actions, including the expression of opposing political ideas, and was responsible for detention without trial and torture of political opponents. The dictator also imprisoned social and political adversaries at Cadeia do Aljube, or Aljube Prison, which is now the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade, or the Museum of Aljube Resistance and Freedom.

What’s more, Portugal engaged in its Colonial War, which involved fighting nationalist movements in its Angolan, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambican colonies, to the displeasure of some of its soldiers.

Celeste Martins Caeiro
Celeste Martins Caeiro. Facebook: Asdooito

The Armed Forces Movement, made up of 200-300 military officers, organized and on April 25, 1974, surrounded government officials. Salgueiro Maia, a captain of the revolutionary troops, was one of the men who persuaded the serving prime minister to surrender.

The Carnation Revolution was named as such due to the actions of Celeste Martins Caeiro, a restaurant worker who distributed red and white carnations to soldiers, who later inserted and pinned the flowers in their guns and on their uniforms. Four deaths resulted and the rule of the Estado Novo, which had governed Portugal since 1933, ended.

Freedom Day Bridge, Lisbon, Portugal
Photo by Emanuele Bianconi on Unsplash

Since that day, people and institutions in Portugal have been celebrating the change in authority.

Parque Eduardo VII has hosted celebratory events annually, which consist of art displays, concerts and games, for free. Although this might change due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, visitors to the park may enjoy a cheerful experience in the 64-acre space.

Room of the Museum of Aljube Resistance and Freedom
Room of the Museum of Aljube Resistance and Freedom. Facebook: Ciwaci Anic

One might also be able to attend events at the Museum of Aljube Resistance and Freedom. Dedicated to the memory of the struggle against the dictatorship and the resistance in favor of liberty and democracy, the institution has held several exhibitions, screenings, workshops and panel discussions to celebrate Freedom Day.

In order to plan an activity not contingent on COVID-19, visitors to Lisbon can prepare for a trip to the Ponte 25 de Abril. Located in the south of Lisbon and straddling the Tagus River, one may watch the sunset in a green space approximately 580 feet from the bridge. Although the structure is unwalkable, spending an evening near it may result in a memorable Freedom Day experience.

freedom day bridge lisbon portugal
Photo by Fulvio Ambrosanio on Unsplash

Ray Lewis

Content Editor Associate

Originally from New Jersey, Ray developed a passion for traveling through his adventures in Europe. He created unforgettable memories in Greece and Italy, but is looking to explore more countries in different parts of the world as well.

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