Today we celebrate Freedom Day in Portugal! This national holiday marks the April 25th revolution that put an end to the dictatorship that had prevailed in Portugal since 1933, when Antonio Salazar established the “Estado Novo” (New State in free translation).
Portugal lived 41 years under an authoritarian regime that imposed serious restrictions on freedom, censorship, and lack of citizen rights. Portuguese people were extremely unhappy with the situation, and the Army planned a coup to overthrow the government.
In the early hours of April 25, 1974, the army left their barracks to start the revolution. Some radio stations broadcasted the password to tell the other barracks the coup was initiated. The passwords were the songs: “E Além do Adeus”, by Paulo de Carvalho and “Grândola Vila Morena”, by José Afonso.
The revolution is also known as the Carnation Revolution because, at a certain moment, a lady who was passing by with a bouquet of carnations, started distributing carnations to the soldiers who put the flowers in the pipe of their rifles. The carnation turned out to be the symbol of the revolution.
Largo do Carmo was the great stage of this revolution, as the army surrounded the “GNR do Carmo” barracks, where Marcelo Caetano, Salazar’s successor, at the head of the dictatorship, had taken refuge.
Every year, the April 25th is celebrated nationwide with lots of people attending festivals and parades through the streets of Portugal. Unfortunately, this year, due to COVID-19, the Portuguese will have to celebrate at home! Long live Freedom!