What is Portugal Day and why is it celebrated in the Channel Islands?

10 June is significant to Portuguese people as it is the day the country gained independence from Spain in 1640. Credit: PA Images

People from Portugal and Madeira who live in Jersey have been celebrating their national day.

50 islanders gathered at the Mayfair Hotel last night (10 June), where they ate traditional foods and sang their national anthem.

Portugal Day, also known as Dia de Camões, is named after Portugal's national poet Luís de Camões and is celebrated on 10 June.

Historically, the date is also significant because it is when the country gained independence from Spain in 1640.

50 islanders gathered at the Mayfair hotel for dinner, where they ate traditional foods and sang their national anthem. Credit: ITV Channel TV
  • Who is Luís de Camões?

Camões is best known for the poem 'Os Lusíadas', which celebrates the country's history and pride. He is even known to have saved the poem from being destroyed when he was once shipwrecked. Interestingly, the date of his birth is unknown, so instead Portugal Day is commemorated on his day of death.

  • How is Portugal Day celebrated?

Portugal Day is a chance for the Portuguese community to remember their heritage, get together and party.

It is celebrated by eating local cuisine dishes like cataplana (seafood stew) and pastel de belem (custard tarts) which is often served with a Medronho, a specialty drink in the Algarve. It is similar to a fruity brandy and is commonly known as 'firewater', being 48% alcoholic.

There is also entertainment going on throughout the day from military ceremonies to exploring exhibitions.

We asked Channel Islanders about what the day means to them and why they are proud to be Portuguese:

Sebastian from Guernsey explains why Portugal Day is important to him Credit: ITV Channel TV
Chris Herlihy explaining why he is proud to be part Portuguese Credit: ITV Channel TV
Heidi Freitas explaining her pride and passion to be Portuguese Credit: ITV Channel TV