Every year the Portuguese celebrate their “Freedom Day” on the 25th April with a bank holiday. The suspension bridge connecting Lisbon and Almada is also a commemoration of this day with its name “Ponte 25 de Abril”. You might be wondering what happened in history to make the 25th April so important to the Portuguese and why it has so many names. Read on to get a brief insight into this significant day in Portuguese history.
The first name you might hear is probably the most self-explanatory one – “Freedom day”. On 25th April 1974 the portuguese military organised a non-violent coup. The aim was to overthrow the authoritarian Estado Novo regime that had lasted nearly five decades (1937-1974)! António de Oliveira Salazar was a head of the Estado Novo with his motto “God, Fatherland and Family”. He used censorship and a secret police to ensure civilians would conform to his ideology. This rebellion freed the country of this authoritarian regime indefinitely so it is a day they keep in their memory.
When the military marched towards the headquarters of the Estado Novo, despite orders to stay in their homes, the civilians joined the soldiers. At the time, carnations were thriving in the city centre. In a symbol of the peaceful rebellion, civilians picked carnations and put them inside of soldiers’ gun barrels. Consequently, they remember this day as “carnation revolution”.
“The bloodless revolution”
Another name you might hear referring to this is the “bloodless revolution”. This coup is remembered as a non-violent protest, resulting is no deaths. However, four people were shot from the roof the headquarters of the Estado Novo before Marcelo, the prime minister at the time, surrendered. The rose-tinted view of the revolution often forget about these four men. A plaque in their memory has been placed, removed, replaced, moved etc. ever since the event.