The date honours the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580, famous for writing the most extraordinary piece about the Portuguese adventures and discoveries – the Lusíadas!
Camões wrote the Lusíadas focusing this epic poem mainly on the 15th-century Portuguese explorations, which brought fame and fortune to the country. The poem, considered one of the finest and most important works in Portuguese literature, became a symbol for the great feats of the Portuguese Empire.
Camões was an adventurer who lost one eye fighting in Ceuta, wrote the poem while travelling and survived a shipwreck in Cochinchina (a region of present-day Vietnam). According to popular knowledge, Camões saved his epic poem by swimming with one arm while keeping the other above water. Because his birth date is unknown, the date of his death is celebrated as Portugal’s National Day.
The celebrations include several militar events, exhibitions, concerts and parades, besides an official cerimony led by the President of the Republic.