It is not common to see several weddings being celebrated on the same day at the same church in Lisbon.
But this Sunday morning here in Portuguese capital Lisbon's old quarter Alfama, 16 weddings took place at the Se church to mark the 20th edition of the Brides of Saint Anthony, a tradition dating back to 1958.
The 16 couples between 20 and 39 years of age, from different municipalities in Lisbon, got married before hundreds of people who applauded outside the church.
The event is organized by the Lisbon municipal council and counts with numerous sponsors, offering young people "most in need" the chance to get married, according to the official website.
They are also offered a honey moon which this year will take place in Tavira, south Portugal.
After a long day of social gatherings, media presence and parades, they also participate in the yearly popular parades which takes place at the capital's Avenida de Liberdade.
The popular parades are organized by Lisbon's company for cultural entertainment EGEAC, which invested around 100,000 euros (112,495 U.S. dollars) in this year's event.
This year 20 parades from different neighbourhoods in Lisbon are competing for the most unique ideas and the theme this year is the 170th anniversary of Portuguese artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro.
One of the groups present was the Parade of Lisbon's Markets. Rui Santos, 53, who was taking part in the march, explained that this parade represents all of Lisbon's local food markets. "It is important to all get together on this day," he told Xinhua. "The popular parades are important, they're one of Lisbon's shop windows."
The dragon dance of the Leong Sport General Association of Macau, China was another of the highlights of the night.
"Our group is invited (to the parade) as a way of reflecting cooperation between both sides," said Rodolfo Faustino, coordinator of tourism of Macau in Portugal, as the team, composed of both men and women dressed in bright red and yellow outfits, was rehearsing carrying the dragon up on poles.
Faustino added that the winner of the parades will travel to Macau to participate in local festivities there and represent Lisbon.
Another parade group present was the Parade of Portimao, a city in Faro, in the south of Portugal. Women dressed in shiny blue and silver costumes and men wearing multicoloured hats carried large prints of images from their region, like beaches and famous characters.
Festivities take place in several parts of the city at this time of the year, with hundreds of stands selling sardines, a popular snack during these celebrations. The streets are decorated with ribbons and colorful paper lanterns and popular Portuguese music blasts from loudspeakers.
On Monday, a national holiday, a procession will take place in honor of Saint Anthony, from the Santo Antonio Church, a tradition that dates back to the 16th century.
The festivities of St Anthony began on June 1 and will run until July 1
source : xinhua