Portugal National Day: Google Doodle to honor Luís de Camões, poet & national literary icon
Today is Portugal National Day, and Portuguese people throughout the world celebrate the nation-wide public holiday. Google illustrates a beautiful doodle to commemorate the death on 10 June 1580 of Luís de Camões, a poet, and national literary icon.
A symbol of the nation's culture, fado music features the Portuguese guitar, a 12-stringed chordophone depicted in the Doodle artwork.
Luís de Camões' magnum opus, the 1572 epic poem "Os Lusíadas" ("The Lusiads"), is widely considered the most significant work of literature in the Portuguese language. This literary masterpiece memorializes Camões' travels and the Portuguese navigations of an oceanic trade route to India by explorer Vasco de Gama.
Luís de Camões was an adventurer who lost one eye fighting in Ceuta, wrote the poem while traveling, and survived a shipwreck in Cochinchina (a region of present-day Vietnam). According to popular folklore, Camões saved his epic poem by swimming with one arm while keeping the other arm above water. Since his date of birth is unknown, his date of death is celebrated as Portugal's National Day.
Although Camões became a symbol of Portugal nationalism, his death coincided with the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 that eventually resulted in Philip II of Spain claiming the Portuguese throne.
Portugal was ruled by three generations of Spanish kings during the Iberian Union (1580–1640). On December 1, 1640, the country regained its independence once again by expelling the Spanish during the Portuguese Restoration War and making John of Bragança, King John IV of Portugal.
During the authoritarian Estado Novo regime in the 20th century, Camões was used as a symbol for the Portuguese nation. In 1944, at the dedication ceremony of the National Stadium in Oeiras (near Lisbon), Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar referred to 10 June as Dia da Raça (Day of the Portuguese Race). The notion of a Portuguese "race" served his nationalist purposes.
The Portugal Day celebrations were officially suspended during the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Celebrations resumed after 1974 and were expanded to include the Comunidades Portuguesas, Portuguese emigrants, and their descendants living in communities all around the world.
In 2013, the official celebrations took place in the town of Elvas, the second time since 1997. One reason that Elvas had been chosen was that it had been classified in 2012 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is one of the most important cities in Portugal at the military level and the most fortified city in Europe.
In 2016 for the first time, the official ceremonies were divided between the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and the French capital of Paris, by the initiative of president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as a reminder that it is also the day of the Portuguese communities throughout the world.