June 10 is the day of Portugal, Camões and Portuguese communities (Dia de Portugal, Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas).
Portugal Day is also called Camões to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Luís Vaz de Camões (1525 – 10 June 1580), the Portuguese poet who wrote the Lusiades.
The Lusiades (Os Lusíadas) is an epic poem that, like the Iliad or the Odyssey for Ancient Greece or the Aeneid for Rome, is a work intended to tell and glorify birth and destiny of the nation and the Portuguese Empire.
This poem is considered to be the most important work of Portuguese literary heritage, both by its poetic qualities but also by the patriotism it spreads.
It was only after the proclamation of the Portuguese Republic on October 5, 1910, that we wanted to restore some holidays in order to make them more secular. By decree giving the possibility to the municipalities to choose their municipal festival, the 10 of June became then the public holiday of the municipality of Lisbon, this one thus wanting to make homage to the great Portuguese poet.
It was not until 1933 that June 10th became a national holiday. Until the Carnation Revolution, this national holiday was called “Portugal Day, Camões and the Portuguese Race”. It later became the “Day of Portugal, Camões and Portuguese Communities” scattered all over the world in 1977.
Soube a designação na minha infância
Mas o tempo apagou
as linhas que no mapa da memória
a mestra palmatória
Hoje sei apenas gostar
de uma nesga de terra debruada de mar
Quando a pátria que temos não a temos
Perdida por silêncios e por renúncia
Até a voz do mar se torna exílio
E a luz que nos rodeia é como grades
[Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen]