Portugal on stamps

This issue shows three major festivities that take place every year in Portugal.

The Popular Saints festivities take place all over Portugal, usually starting the night before a municipal holiday with competitive marches among traditional neighbourhoods or other forms of street carnival. Sardines are a typical staple during festivities. St. Anthony is celebrated mainly in his birth city, Lisbon, on 12-13 June. The stamp also shows the typical pots of manjerico (bush basil) that men offer their girlfriends. Porto and many other cities celebrate St. John the Baptist on 23-24 June. It’s tradition for people to hit each other’s heads with plastic toy hammers. Other places celebrate St. Peter on 28-29 June.

The New Year fireworks in the bay of Funchal, Madeira, is the largest in the world (Guinness World Records, 2006) and attracts many tourists. The stamp also shows a couple in the traditional costumes used in the bailinho folk dance.

The festivities of the Cult of the Holy Spirit take place on all Azorean islands for several weeks after Easter. The cult is celebrated by brotherhoods in small ornate colourful buildings, called empires, and during the festivities, a member of the brotherhood is crowned emperor and processions take place for the ceremonial transfer of the crown to the emperor’s home, accompanied by music and food.

The stamps were designed by Luís Filipe Abreu, lithographed by Litografia de Portugal on enamelled paper sheets of 5×10 stamps with perforation 12×12½, and circulated from 21 May 1998 to 30 September 2001.

Stamp Print run Afinsa Gibbons Michel Scott Yvert
mainland 500,000 2486 2642 2254 2243
Madeira 500,000 2488 317 192 199
Azores 500,000 2487 566 467 457

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